Can I Use Sun Bum Sunscreen in Hawaii?

Short answer is: Yes, Sun Bum is considered a reef safe sunscreen until the beginning of 2023 per Hawaii’s newly passed rules regarding reef safe sunscreens. At this time, in Hawaii, only oxybenzone and octinoxate are banned. Sun Bum does not contain these two chemical ingredients in its formula.

All of the active ingredients in Sun Bum SPF 30 and 50 are zinc oxide based. Zinc is a physical blocker that works by sitting on top of the skin and deflecting/scattering dangerous UVA & UVB rays away from you like little tiny ninja soldiers.

How does reef safe sunscreen work?

Reef safe sunscreen is made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are physical sunscreens that sit on top of the skin and deflect or scatter ultraviolet (UV) rays away from the body. They don’t absorb into the skin like chemical sunscreens, which is what makes them reef friendly.

What is the difference between chemical and physical sunscreen?

Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the sun’s rays, while physical sunscreens work by deflecting or scattering them. Physical sunscreens, like those made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are considered “reef safe” because they don’t enter the water and they don’t absorb into the skin.

Do physical sunscreens work as well as chemical sunscreens?

Yes! Physical sunscreens are just as effective as chemical sunscreens, if not more so. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people use physical sunscreens because they are less likely to irritate the skin.

What is the best reef safe sunscreen?

There is no one “best” reef safe sunscreen, but there are a few things to look for when choosing a reef friendly sunscreen. First, make sure it is made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Second, check the ingredients list to make sure it doesn’t contain any of the non-reef safe ingredients like oxybenzone or octinoxate. And third, read reviews to see what other people are saying about the sunscreen.

The bottom line is that if you want to be reef friendly, choose a sunscreen made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. And if you’re not sure, just check the ingredients list to make sure it doesn’t contain any of the non-reef safe ingredients.

What is your favorite reef safe sunscreen? Let us know in the comments below!

How Coral Reefs are Formed

How Coral Reefs are Formed

Have you ever wondered how coral reefs are made?  The formation of coral reefs is a pretty interesting phenomenon and they provide a huge and varied ecosystem that thrives under the water.  Coral reefs are often referred to as the “rainforest under the sea” and almost a quarter of all underwater species call the coral reef home.  For the most part reefs are found in the tropics near the shoreline although there are some reefs in the deep sea.  Let’s look at how they are made.

The First Stages of the Reef

A reef begins when coral larvae attach itself to the rocks and soil near the coast.  The larvae need to attach themselves in an area where there is enough sunlight filtering through the water and these larvae turn into polyps which excretes calcium carbonate that forms the exoskeleton.  The calcium carbonate provides a substrate for even more polyps to attach themselves eventually forming a coral reef.  At the same time algae also attaches to the structure and so do other plants and that makes the reef stronger.   The initial reefs are referred to as fringing reefs, over time the calcium carbonate in the reef converts to limestone because of pressure.

Barrier Reefs

Eventually the fringing reefs come together and form a border of sorts along the coast with the calcium carbonate luring in more polyps and the space eventually becomes filled in.  It can form a ring around an island and a line along the coast, the colors and formations are absolutely beautiful.  Since they are in relatively shallow water the sunlight helps the reef to grow.  The biggest reef is The Great Barrier Reef in Australia here is a closer look at it.


Coral reefs have a huge and complex ecosystem that is absolutely fascinating.  There is a huge variety of marine life including fish, algae, sponges and loads of other species that rely on the reef for food and shelter.  The bigger the reef the more species that you will find in there.  Let’s look at some of the more common species found in a reef.

  • Sponges: These act as filters for the sediment within the reef and are crucial to the function of the reef. They take large large globules and turn them into much smaller particles that can be then absorbed by the reef.
  • Fish: There are more than 5,000 different kinds of fish that live in the coral reef, fish are a vital part of the food chain and they live within the corals.
  • Invertebrates: These are the sea urchins, slugs and anemones and if you ever going diving near a reef you will see plenty of them.

Coral reefs are a complex and biodiverse ecosystem that are in danger because of pollution and man invading their natural habitats.  We need to bring awareness to the issue and make sure that we protect this delicate yet vital part of our oceans.