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9 Sep 2021
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Travel Tips

What's in your sunscreen?

Coming to Destin, many beachgoers apply sunscreen to protect their skin, but most may know the harm they could be causing to reefs and local marine life. The Destin area has over 16 artificial reefs to assist in growing marine life and producing a sustainable environment. When certain chemicals from sunscreen come into the Gulf, they can attach to reefs causing DNA damage and bleaching to corals, as well as creating significant long-term effects on sea creatures that live in and around it.

After extensive research, Oxybenzone and Octinoxate were found to cause significant marine harm. In May 2018, Hawaii became the first state in the United States to ban the sale of over-the-counter sunscreens containing those harmful ingredients, with the goal of preserving Hawaii’s marine ecosystems. Here in Florida, Key West, which is home to the largest Coral Reef in the continental U.S., has followed suit, and also banned the sale of all sunscreens containing Oxybenzone and Octinoxate as of January 1, 2021. These legislations are a big step in creating a more “Reef Friendly” environment for our aquatic friends.

How to know if your sunscreen is Reef Friendly. 

Check your sunscreen’s "active ingredients", and try to avoid these chemicals listed below.

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
  • Octocrylene
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
  • Methyl Paraben
  • Ethyl Paraben
  • Propyl Paraben
  • Butyl Paraben
  • Benzyl Paraben
  • Triclosan
  • Any form of microplastic sphere or beads
  • Any nanoparticles like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Aside from checking ingredients in your sunscreen, there are several other ways to help contribute to environmental protection. Compass Resorts is a proud supporter of the Leave No Trace initiative, an organization that helps promote environmental awareness. In 2020, the Leave No Trace organization helped remove over 900,000 pounds of trash from our local beaches. It is our hope that residents and visitors will take individual pride and initiative to ensure that our beloved Emerald Coast beaches remain beautiful! Learn more about Destin's Leave No Trace initiative here. 

Leave No Trace