Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Holo Holo Blog

Back to Holo Holo Charters Blog

Protect Kauaʻi’s Sea Life with Reef-Safe Sunscreen

On Kauaʻi the inhabitants of the ocean are our neighbors, and at Holo Holo Charters, they are also our coworkers! We are dedicated to keeping the ocean as healthy and safe on our watch as our tour guests. So, what makes a sunscreen reef-safe and why is that so important?

reef safe sunscreen kauai

Balancing the complexity of the coral reef ecosystem is essential to the health of marine life. A source of food and shelter designed to protect many variations of fish and sea creatures, the coral reefs in Hawaiʻi are suffering due to the impact of human visitors as well as other environmental factors. Healthy coral reefs provide a habitat, feeding ground, and spawning hub for millions of species of sea life. By taking care of the reef we are enabling the delicate marine ecosystem to thrive, while also securing a sustainable source of food for the humans here on Kauaʻi.

Although climate change and general water pollution do contribute to the overall health of the coral reefs in Hawaiʻi, our focus as a tour company is to be sure to do things pono. As we continue to respectfully admire the beautiful tropical fish on our tours, we feel a strong kuleana to protect them as well. When considering the necessary sun-protection for an outing on Kauaʻi, choosing reef-safe sunscreen is a small step you can take which will have a big impact.

Reef-safe sunscreens are mineral-based and do not contain toxic chemicals that could negatively affect the reef or surrounding life. Although most sunscreens are clearly labeled REEF-SAFE, be sure to double check the ingredients for these DOs and DON’Ts:

DO NOT purchase sunscreens with these ingredients:
These ingredients are dangerous to sea life and have proven to cause bleaching of the reef. When the reef turns white, it has been compromised and is in immediate danger of further disease, erosion, or death.

DO purchase sunscreens whose active ingredients include:
Zinc Oxide
Titanium Oxide
These are safe for the ocean, and safe for you! Another perk to reef-safe sunscreens is that they are safer for human use as well, providing excellent UV protection without any of the unnecessary chemicals.

This issue is so urgent that the state of Hawaiʻi banned the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. However, as a tourist destination, there is little we can do to manage the sunscreens guests chose to bring with them, except offer this knowledge on how to be a mindful visitor. As you prepare for whatever adventure awaits you on Kauaʻi, consider one of our picks for your sun protection:

Raw-Elements – This is a staff favorite! Water-resistant and reef-safe with other vitamins and minerals included to keep your skin soft.

Kokua Sun Care – Goes on smooth with a (natural) tropical scent – MADE IN HAWAIʻI!
Garden Goddess Organic Sunscreen – Great for the keiki and the face sticks are great for on the go.

Bare Republic – Sheer mineral sunscreen, naturally scented with coconut and kukui nut oil moisturizers

Native – Mineral sunscreen available in several scents or unscented.

Mahalo for your kōkua!

  • Posted in: