Hawaii Bans Oxybenzone Sunscreens

Save Our Reefs By Avoiding These Ingredients

Whether you're a Hawaii resident or just visiting, it's important to note that Hawaii's ecosystems are extremely fragile. In the recent years, coral bleaching has become more apparent and efforts have been made in order to slow this phenomenon.

Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are two ingredients believed to contribute to coral bleaching. When coral bleaches, it's not dead, but rather under significant stress and may have an increased risk of dying. It is estimated that 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter coral reefs every year. Popular sunscreen brands that can be found at most retailers are known to contain these dangerous chemicals. 

The Hawaii Legislature passed a law that went into effect on January 1st, 2021 that bans the sale of sunscreens containing Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. This law can hopefully begin to usher in a new wave of individuals who are paying attention to the ingredients they are slathering onto their skin. It really begs the question that if something causes detriment to the environment, is it even safe for us to use on ourselves...?

Hawaii Marine Life | Honu

Here are the ingredients you should pay attention to while reading skincare or sunscreen labels:

- Oxybenzone

- Benzophenone-1

- Benzophenone-8


- 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor

- 3-Benzylidene camphor

- nano-Titanium dioxide

- nano-Zinc oxide

- Octinoxate

- Octocrylene

- Mineral Oil

How Do These Chemicals Threaten Marine Life? 

These chemicals have been proven to impair the growth of green algae, cause defects in mussels and urchins, decrease fertility and reproduction in fish, and damage DNA in coral. The issue with these chemicals is that it targets many different marine life forms, which can significantly impact the aquatic ecosystem in its entirety.

Especially in a sunny, tropical climate like Hawaii, our islands attract a lot of beach-goers who often layer on copious amounts of sunscreen. While sun protection is important, reading the ingredient list is vital in order to maintain the health of Hawaii's marine life.

What Can You Do To Help?

The main thing that anyone can do to help prevent the premature deaths of fragile coral reefs is to ditch any products that contain the ingredients listed above! There are a lot of great sunscreen products available today, from brands such as Ao Organics or Kokua Sun Care. If you prefer tanning oil, then our Coffee or Vanilla Body Oil is a fabulous option that is safe for your skin as well as the environment.

Furthermore, do your best to purchase from brands who are using containers with minimal plastic! Our body oils come in glass containers, which helps to minimize the contribution of plastic that may end up in the Pacific Garbage Patch.

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I didn’t realize that there’s a ban on sunscreen products for here in Hawaii. But I’m so glad to know that there is one. I personally enjoy swimming and snorkeling and knowing that there are dangerous and hazardous chemicals that are in sunscreen that can damage and harm out marine life. If we don’t want hazardous chemicals in our homes we shouldn’t be bringing it into our marine lives homes. It is reassuring knowing the products are reducing waste and isn’t harmful to our marine life!

Kira Nobriga

I don’t come from a state where we are on the ocean but I have always been really into the safety of our marine life. If you don’t want toxic chemicals put into you why should we take toxic chemicals into the ocean? I’m so thrilled to read that Hawaii has put a ban on those toxic products. I really hope we can move forward in the world and make this a world wide ban and safe the reefs and oceans from being destroyed completely!

Ashley Roe

I am so thrilled that there is finally a sunscreen ban for the State of Hawaii. I’ve always hated using drugstore sunscreen because although the packaging says that its safe to use on your skin, how safe is it to use in the water? Damaging our marine life is so important to being a local resident here because of the growing tourism population that travels to all of our islands. That’s why I’m glad that there are LOCAL businesses that are jumping on this trend of having natural and safe products that not only are safe for your skin but also to the environment. That’s why whenever I use my Ili Kope body oils, I feel at ease knowing that the products will nourish my skin but won’t harm the marine life that needs to thrive in our waters.

Kayla Rae Santos-Paglinawan

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