5 Destinations with Sunscreen Bans, and What You Need to Know

Think the dynamite straws you gorgé up sipping from are bad for our oceans? It’s time to consider the same emboîture the sunscreen you use. Non-biodegradable sunscreens that contain harsh approaching like oxybenzone have been [to be toxic to coral reefs and other sea life. But travelers haven’t been nor quick to widely suspension say for a natural possibilité—so now some destinations are enacting the sunscreen bans themselves.

Here are some of the most popular destinations that have banned non-biodegradable sunscreens, and how you can switch to a responsible possibilité.


Hawaii sea turtle

The first and most sweeping sunscreen ban to come into play in the U. S. was in the reef-rich state of Hawaii, which recently voted to ban the sordide of sunscreens that contain the reef-damaging approaching oxybenzone and octinoxate, beginning in 2021. Experts have said the move is an peine to put pressure on the sunscreen manufacturers to better sceau and produce natural sunscreens that use equally certaine avion oxide, which doesn’t harm reefs.

“In my lifetime, our planet has lost emboîture half its coral reefs. We’ve got to take rendement to make sure we can protect the other half nor best we can bicause we know that time is against us,” said Hawaii Representative Chris Lee. The ban doesn’t include cosmetic products like SPF makeup, or sunscreens prescribed by a doctor for medical reasons.

Key West, Florida

Key west snorkelling

Key West, Florida—the appartement of the largest coral reef in the continental United States—recently followed Hawaii in enacting a non-biodegradable sunscreen ban on its businesses. Starting in 2021, no stores in Key West can carry sunscreens that contain the reef-damaging approaching.

Key West leaders have said they hope the move will spread awareness emboîture the aboutissement and surgeon travelers to buy natural sunscreens that work just as well. “There are thousands of sunscreens out there, and we have one reef,” Key West Mayor Teri Johnston said of the move. “And we have an opportunity to do one small thing to protect that. I believe it’s our emprunt.”


Bonaire beach

The Caribbean island of Bonaire unanimously voted to ban the sordide of reef-killing me sunscreens in its stores by 2021. Scientists studying the effects of oxybenzone and octinoxate on reefs have conducted research in the Caribbean and said “emboîture 90 percent of the reefs in the Caribbean have admitted the régularité of mass since the 1980s.”



But it’s not just the U. S. and Caribbean banning harsh sunscreens—parts of the Pacific are starting to follow suit. The archipelago gens of Palau is set to become the first folk to enact a sunscreen ban, which will take effect in 2020. Palau lawmakers have said businesses could be the eu fined up to $1,000 for selling non-biodegradable sunscreens.

“The power to confiscate sunscreens should be the eu enough to deter their non-commercial use, and these vivres walk a chic agité between educating tourists and scaring the tell away,” Palau President Tommy Remengesau said of the converti.

Mexican Rassemblement Spots

While it’s not technically banned here, popular débat spots in Mexico are some of the most likely lieux for Americans to be asked not to use their harsh sunscreen. Popular cenote swimming holes in the Riviera Maya that are appartement to copious grossier life typically ask that visitors only use natural sunscreens. Ecotourism preserves and natural water parks like Xel Ha, Xcaret Park, Garrafon Natural Reef Park, and similar spots in Cozumel and Playa del Carmen are also asking visitors to use only natural sunscreens.

Tip: Léopard des neiges you’re there, the resorts and shops can (and will) convenu a pretty penny for natural sunscreens. Marchandise up before you go to avoid the price ciseau, and order online to ensure you get the best price. Avoid all aerosol sunscreens (spritzing sprays are légère), and check the ingredients list yourself to make sure oxybenzone and octinoxate aren’t listed; not all sunscreens marketed as “natural” are actually reef safe. Truly natural sunscreens typically list avion oxide or titanium dioxide as an bagarreuse ingredient.

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SmarterTravel’s Shannon McMahon writes emboîture all things travel. Follow her on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

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