Last Updated: April 27, 2023
Have you been snorkeling without wearing sunscreen? If so, you might not be aware of the damages the water and the sun can do to your skin.
Snorkeling or other sports that include exposing your skin to the sun can burn your skin. Thus, you need to wear the best sunscreen, and Neutrogena is certainly one of the top brands.
But is Neutrogena sunscreen reef safe? Well, it depends on which Neutrogena sunscreen you are talking about. While some contain chemical toxins, others are completely safe and potentially the go-to sunscreen for your healthy skin and for most snorkelers.
So, let’s get into the details of sun protection and Neutrogena sunscreens.
Why You Need Reef Safe Sunscreen when Snorkeling
You wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. When you are out of the waters and sunbathe lying on the beach, you do not want the sun to burn your skin.
For this reason, snorkeling, kayaking, or sailing require you to equip yourself with essentials, and sunscreen is a must.
But why do you need a reef-safe sunscreen? Because these creams contain chemicals with the potential to damage coral reefs. Believe it or not, it’s the reality!
The good news, though, is some sunscreens are reef-safe, and so, you have the option of choosing them to protect the environment. In fact, it should be your only choice as you surely don’t want to impact the environment badly.
However, there are so many brands, all claiming some good effects or the other, that it can be challenging to choose the best reef-safe sunscreen good for your skin.
Below you will come across the considerations to make while you’re shopping for the best toxin-free and reef-safe sunblocks for snorkeling or, even generally, for healthy skin.
What is Coral Bleaching?
Bleaching means losing color. Well, it is pretty much the same for coral reefs as well. Coral bleaching kills the algae inside the reefs. Their death leaves behind a mere white reef skeleton.
Diving and snorkeling is one of those water sports you enjoy because of the ocean’s beautiful aquatic life. You enjoy seeing the beautiful reefs on the ground below that feeds life to other aquatic organisms.
You don’t want to be a reason that beauty is no more. Because then, there’ll be only little to no reason why you’d enjoy snorkeling the first hand.
The algae present inside the coral reefs is called zooxanthellae. But they’re expelled due to excessive pollution and warmth in the water. It causes the coral reefs to lose their vitality, harming the aquatic life depending on them.
The zooxanthellae serve as food to a mass of marine life. When it is expelled from the coral reef, you can say it’s almost indirectly affecting marine life. Why? Because their food won’t be there anymore. And every organism needs to feed itself to survive.
The algae disappear, the small aquatic animals also disappear due to scarcity of food. As a result, the beauty of the ocean life and the adventure of scuba diving or snorkeling would slowly fade away.
And the next time you go snorkeling, it would be plain water with nothing beneath that makes snorkeling adventurous. You might as well dive into a deep swimming pool.
But just when you think it’s the end, there’s some good news bringing you back to Mother Nature. As soon as the ocean regains its original cleanliness and temperature, the algae come alive once again.
Therefore, try not to affect the coral reefs in any way as that would only mean repelling the algae and other aquatic life forms.
Some of the sunscreens out there might contribute to this hazard. But others don’t. You could be one of those who helps to protect the coral reefs, enjoying your snorkeling or diving adventure while the corals make a home for the algae that are food for the marine life.
Is There Oxybenzone in Neutrogena Sunscreen?
Before answering this question, let’s run a quick scan of what oxybenzone is. It is a part of a band of aromatic ketones known as benzophenones. It is found in nail polishes, hair sprays, cosmetics, and even sunscreens.
Endocrine disruptors, one of which oxybenzone is, interferes with the hormone system. It can result in cancer, defects in birth, or other developmental disorders.
Oxybenzone acts like estrogen and reduces the sperm count in males. It is also associated with endometriosis and eventually, affects women’s fertility.
So, is there oxybenzone in Neutrogena sunscreen? Well, it depends. While 80% of Neutrogena sunblocks contain oxybenzone and chemicals that aren’t safe for the corals, others are reef-safe and ideal for snorkeling or swimming.
One such example is the Neutrogena’s Sheer Zinc Oxide Dry-Touch Sunscreen with SPF 30.
This one is best overall and justifies the buyer’s wish for a safe and trustworthy product. It is affordable and also environmentally friendly.
Neutrogena Sunscreens that Are Reef Safe
Neutrogena is a popular brand of sunscreens. However, don’t think they are all good just because of their reputed brand name. Not all of them are ideal for snorkeling.
You should run a check through the ingredients before making a purchase. Look for any harmful compounds, and if you find any, you should put them back on the shelf. Well, if you have no plans for water activities, you can wear any sunscreen. But if you have, look for the right one.
The above mentioned Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Sunscreen is made of zinc through natural extraction processes. It is free of avobenzone, oxybenzone, or octinoxate. So you can go for this one undoubtedly.
Other popular Neutrogena sunscreens people love to wear:
How Do You Know if Sunscreen is Reef Safe?
How would you know which are the sunscreens that are safe for the reefs down there? There are a few ingredients and factors you should steer clear of to keep the environment safe.
Absence of Oxybenzone and Octinoxate
Ensure that the ingredients list shows no signs of these two harmful chemicals – oxybenzone and octinoxate. These are deadly to corals and can result in coral bleaching. So, consider buying one only when you are sure of their absence in the sunscreen’s ingredients.
Presence of Minerals like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide
Mineral-based sunscreens like the ones containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are recommended for snorkelers. These do not seep through the skin and sit on top of it. They act as a shield from harmful UV rays. Moreover, they are safe for the corals and are not associated with coral bleaching.
“Non-nano” Ingredients Mark
For mineral-based sunscreen that do not bother the corals, look for the indication that says they are “non-nano.” It would mean that the ingredient content is over 100 nanometers in size. This way, they can not be ingested by the corals in the oceans.
Keep the environment safe along with yourself. Look for sunscreens with the “reef-safe” label on the tubes or bottles while also checking their ingredients list.
Which Other Sunscreens Are Safe for Coral Reefs?
Here are a few reef-safe sunscreens you can trust to add to your wish list. You can include them in your equipment gear next time you go snorkeling:
Even though you have a handy list, it would be best to check the product’s list of ingredients to ensure it is reef-friendly.
Now you clearly understand the importance of wearing reef-safe sunscreen while you go snorkeling. And Neutrogena sunscreens are ideal and safe as long as they are free of oxybenzone and octinoxate. So, check the list of ingredients to steer clear of these two chemicals.
My unbounded love for the oceans and everything it has to offer motivated me to pursue my passion and become a professional scuba diving instructor.
I keep reading, exploring, and learning more about scuba diving and the underwater world all the time, so I’m excited to share my knowledge with fellow scuba enthusiasts and hopefully contribute a little to your development as a diver. I want people to fall in love with the oceans with as much passion as I have. Read more about me here.