Just when you thought you were finally making mom proud by putting on that SPF, someone like me comes along to burst your bubble that regular sunscreen is actually so harmful that you can’t wear it in certain beautiful places in the World. Why?
Well, in short, regular sunscreen contains an evil chemical called Oxybenzone that’s not only potentially toxic to you, but 100% toxic to coral reefs and marine animals.
Since there happens to be coral reefs in many of the most beautiful places on Earth, and the good humans of the World like to protect them, that means you can’t bring that toxic nastiness in the water!
Fret not though my friends, there’s an awesome solution to all of this; mineral sunscreen that doesn’t contain Oxyuckybenzone, and is biodegradable in water, which means it won’t harm anything while protecting you. I first heard about all of this a year ago when I read that regular sunscreen was banned in Dos Ojos cenotes, but mineral sunscreen was allowed. Since I knew if I got the slightest sunburn I’d get called out on Instagram to put sunscreen on, I did some research and found a mineral brand called Sunology, which I have been using on my travels ever since.
As a full time traveler, I HAVE to wear sunscreen. Not only will people literally call me out on my lobster-looking photos, but also because I’ll look way older than I am, and risk potential health issues that could keep me from globe trotting! But I also know it’s my global duty to keep the environment safe as well!
Aside from keeping my skin safe from UV rays and the environment safe from chemicals, I also really love mineral sunscreen like Sunology because it’s light, fresh, and actually good for your skin! It protects it and nourishes it at once! That’s a major win compared to regular sunscreen; which can seep into your skin and cause free radicals (AKA potential cancer!).
To further give you an idea on just how important it is to invest in some mineral sunscreen for your travels, here are 6 beautiful places in the World that recommend it over regular sunscreen, or have banned oxybenzone sunscreen completely!
1. Puerto Princesa
You wouldn’t want to ruin the water of a World Wonder, would you? Photo by me 🙂
Puerto Princesa is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, so of course its waters are heavily protected! It’s an underground river located on the beautiful island of Palawan in the Philippines, and it’s so well-kept that you can’t even go in the water inside of the cave. You can go in the water around the cave, but advisories and signs prohibit the use of certain items…like Oxybenzone sunscreen. You wouldn’t want to harm or yucky up the pristine waters of a World Wonder now would you?
2. Riviera Maya
Dos Ojos cenotes in Riviera Maya ban the use of chemical sunscreen in the water!
Cenotes in the Riviera Maya were the first natural landmarks that I learned about regular sunscreen being banned in, and after my research, I can definitely see why. If you’ve never seen a cenote, it’s a gorgeous natural pool often inside of a limestone cave that collapsed in some areas exposing the hidden waters.
Cenotes are typically crystal clear with stunning fresh water that can easily get fogged up with the addition of thick, chemical-rich sunscreen. Advisories urge guests to refrain from wearing regular SPF, and ask that natural or mineral sunscreen is used instead. You’ll see that many of the shops around Riviera Maya sell the good stuff, but it’s also pretty pricey, so better to bring your own, like Sunology from home!
If all those people wear chemical sunscreen in the water, it will not look that pretty!
If you just Google “Where is sunscreen banned?” the entire first page will come up with recent news that Hawaii is moving to ban regular sunscreen from all of its islands! That should give you a major clue as to how toxic the chemicals in it really are, and how bad it is for you and the environment! Of course, no one wants to get fried on their tropical vacation to Hawaii, which is why the news reports state that mineral sunscreen without chemicals like Oxybenzone and Avobenzone will still be permitted and encouraged.In fact, Conde Naste Traveler just published an article stating that there’s a massive shift going on in Hawaii, and that you’ll mostly only see eco-friendly sunscreens in all of the shops!
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I’m not entirely sure how much swimming you’ll do near Easter Island unless you’re a scuba diver, but it’s a good example of an awesome, beautiful place that’s protected from the harmful chemicals of sunscreen. The tiny island with the big heads (and now bodies) located in the middle of the ocean west of Ecuador is an important piece of history that does NOT need to be erased because of what we put in the water!
5. French Polynesia
You can see the coral is already badly bleached and damaged in French Polynesia
This super popular honeymoon destination also wants to keep its gorgeous waters clear of chemicals and toxins that can harm its many beautiful coral reefs. While regular sunscreen isn’t officially banned in French Polynesia, you’ll find it isn’t predominantly found in shops, and especially not worn by locals. Don’t be that visitor that ruins Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Mo’orea. Wear mineral sunscreen.
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Before I go off on a tangent about how humans are single-handedly destroying the Great Barrier Reef, I’ll just delicately re-iterate that OXYBENZONE DESTROYS CORAL REEFS. When you put regular sunscreen on your body and go in the water, the toxic chemicals either wash off into the water and harm the reef and wildlife, or saturate into your skin and hurt you. SO DON’T WEAR IT.
Mineral sunscreen is made from natural ingredients that dissolve in water and are not harmful to the reefs or fishies, plus when mineral sunscreen absorbs into your skin, it’s actually good for you!
6. The Maldives
Let’s keep the water in the Maldives clear and the coral reefs colorful.
Like Fiji, the Maldives is a super popular honeymoon destination with a silent request to not wear nasty sunscreen that can ruin its waters and coral reefs. In my opinion, it’s crucial to only wear mineral sunscreen in the Maldives, both because the sun is brutal there, and the tiny little fact that the Maldives are MADE of coral reefs called atolls.
AKA, if you destroy the coral in the Maldives, you are destroying the Maldives altogether, and then you’ll never be able to go there again.
Keep Coral Colorful!
So now that you know just how harmful something so overlooked as the chemicals in sunscreen can be, I urge you to do your part in keeping our planet pretty by not wearing Oxybenzone sunscreen! I promise you’ll love mineral sunscreen like Sunology (which BTW is TSA-size approved!), and will want to wear it every day despite where you may be traveling to!
To order your supply of Sunology Mineral Sunscreen, click here!
Sunology is good for your skin, the environment, and travel-friendly
Disclaimer: This post is written on behalf of Sunology mineral Sunscreen, however I really do fully endorse and love the product, and all opinions, writing, and photos are my own unless credited in the captions!
Alyssa is a self-made, full time travel blogger who loves adventure and typically travels the world solo. She's been to 53 countries and 6 continents so far, and believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!