Is Sun bum reef safe? | Surprising Answer!

Sun Bum claim that their products are reef safe when comparing their ingredients against the most damaging ingredients for coral reefs. However, there are some other concerning ingredients that could also cause damage to reefs but research is limited and hasn’t given us a definitive answer.

We love that you care about the environment and want to protect our coral reefs which is why we have written this guide to help you find out if Sun Bum sun care products are really reef safe and which ingredients you might want to avoid.

Sun bum have a lot to say about reef friendly products.

Sun bum have published a whole page on their website, talking about reef safe products. They begin by introducing us to the Hawaii state legislature which bans the use of Oxybenzone and Octinoxate and how they are proud to comply with this.

Currently these are the only 2 ingredients that, in Hawaii are banned for use in the ocean in an attempt to protect the coral reefs.

How do you know if a sunscreen is reef safe | Reef safe claims are often misleading

There is no regulation for a product to be classed as reef safe so brands that claim to be reef safe may still contain ingredients that are damaging to a reef.

If you really want to know whether you can apply a sunscreen on your skin and safely swim in a reef without risking damaging the reef, you need to look a little closer at the ingredients list.

Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are 2 ingredients often used in Sunscreens that are known to be damaging to the reef but there are a number of other ingredients you should avoid, which we will list below.

A lot of sunscreen brands also use Avobenzone, Homosalate and Octocrylene which are also seen as being harmful to coral reefs.

Ingredients that aren’t reef safe


The center for biologi cal diversity write about how this ingredient can cause brain deformities in fish lava and cause reproductive toxicity. It may also have a bleaching effect on corals.

4-methylbenzylidene camphor

Homosalate – This chemical doesn’t break down easily and traces of this chemical have been found on sea life and corals. Exactly what affect it has on them isn’t clear yet but it seems like it’s better to avoid this ingredient if you want to be completely reef safe.

Oxybenzone – is one of the worst ingredients for coral reefs so make sure to avoid it if you want to be sure your sun screen is reef friendly.





Nanoparticles – zinc or titanium. If these ingredients are micro sized or not nano-sized then they are safe to use.

Avobenzone – Avobenzone stops coral from being able to protect themselves from rising ocean temperatures.

Octisalate – This is believed to be an environmental toxin and even though there is limited research some organisations have restricted it’s use.

Comparing Sun Bum products | Are they reef safe or not?

Sun Care product nameDoes it Contain Avobenzone, Homosalate or OctocryleneIs this product Mineral based?List of any Non reef-safe ingredientsDo we think it is Reef safe

Is Sun bum allowed in hawaii

Final Summary – Is Sun Bum Coral reef friendly ?

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