A special consideration for the vacation luggage to Mexico should be the right sunscreen. Because we have to protect our skin against the strong sun and dangerous UV rays. However, the chemicals used in traditional sunscreen destroy corals and are harmful to marine life. Therefore, normal sunscreen may be forbidden in most natural parks on the Yucatan Peninsula, including Cozumel, and should not be used.
Even though many researches about the toxicity of sunscreen exist, many tourists still use conventional sunscreen with harmful ingredients. Most people are unaware of how much they harm the coral. Especially in popular areas, where many people like to swim, the concentration of the harmful substances from chemical sunscreens increases. According to the US Marine Agency NOAA, up to 6,000 tons of sunscreen lands every year in seas with coral reefs. The result is coral bleaching and displacement of fish from their habitat.
In this article, we give some recommendations on what to look for when buying biodegradable sunscreen for your Mexican vacation, so that you can use your sun protection without any problems in the Yucatan Peninsula Nature Parks. Below, we have listed harmless sunscreen for Mexico.
Biodegradable sunscreen – What is that?
Environmentally friendly sunscreen is free of chemical ingredients that often occur in conventional sunscreen. Living things in the water are not damaged if the sunscreen washes off while bathing, snorkeling or surfing. Biodegradable sunscreen uses no harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone, octocrylene and parabens, which protect against UV radiation but also harm the environment.
For these reasons, harmful sunscreen has been banned in some areas of Mexico. Especially in the freshwater cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, attention is paid to the quality of the water, as this water is sometimes still used as potable water. If you do not have eco-friendly sunscreen with you, you have to buy it at the entrance of the park, do not use sunscreen at all or wear a t-shirt to protect the skin. The diver’s paradise Palau has also taken steps. Toxic sunscreen is prohibited there from 2020. Hawaii wants to follow soon.
Sometimes it is not easy to detect real biodegradable sunscreen. While chemical ingredients are easily recognizable, many manufacturers advertise with mineral sun creams. However, if these are not nano-free, they also harm the underwater world and are therefore also prohibited in Mexico.
How do you recognize biodegradable sunscreen?
Coral bleaching in Australia
If it is not explicitly stated, sunscreen is not environmentally friendly. The following ingredients are harmful to corals and fish: PABA, Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor and Butylparaben. These oils dissolve while swimming and settle on the corals like an invisible film. Harmful sunscreen is one of the main reasons for coral bleaching! We looked at different manufacturers of sunscreen and have checked the ingredients carefully.
Biodegradable sunscreen for Mexico – Where to buy?
If you really want to protect the reef, you have to check the ingredients of a sunscreen carefully. Many manufacturers describe their sun protection as mineral, even vegan. Unfortunately, these marketing phrases cannot be trusted. In the list of ingredients are often chemicals. In traditional drugstores, we have not found any biodegradable sunscreen yet. There are some creams that use fewer pollutants than others. However, these are not allowed in Mexico.