These local reef-friendly sunscreens keep the seas safe while protecting you from the sun

Maggie Adan

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These local reef-friendly sunscreens keep the seas safe while protecting you from the sun
Protect your skin and our seas!

Our summers are H-O-T, and are only going to get hotter, thanks to global warming (real thing, by the way). And the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays mean business. So when it comes to protecting our skin, it’s vital that we are just as serious.

Summer or not, putting on sunscreen should be a part of your daily beauty routine. Kilay may be life, but in this day and age, SPF is lifer.

Another thing we need to get serious about is saving our seas. You may not know it yet, but your choice of sunscreen plays an important role. 

An article in Women’s Health reports that researchers have found common chemical sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate to be harmful to reefs, causing coral bleaching and damaging the DNA of young corals. 

In fact, studies show these ingredients have such a negative impact on coral reefs that, according to Consumer Reports, Hawaii and Florida have banned the sale of sunscreens containing the two ingredients. 

Living in an archipelago surrounded by water with a rich and diverse marine life, it’s even more crucial to use sunscreens that are reef-friendly. Luckily, local brands have responded to our SOS calls (that’s Save Our Seas and Save Our Skin). 

Magwai Reef-safe Sunscreen SPF 50+

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When beach buddies Czar Carbonel and Maffy Tamayo read an article about how chemical sunscreens were toxic to coral reefs, they went looking for reef-friendly alternatives. To their dismay, there weren’t a lot available locally.

Not satisfied with just buying their sunscreen abroad, the two decided to create their own—a reef-friendly sunscreen that was made and available in the Philippines. 

“As regular beach goers, we were both frustrated with the inaccessibility of reef-safe sunscreens in the Philippines, which was unfortunate because the Philippines sits at the heart of the coral triangle,” Czar said.

Channeling their frustration and love for our country’s beautiful oceans, the two came up with Magwai, a physical sunscreen that uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as its active ingredients, and doesn’t contain chemicals that are highly toxic to coral reefs.

To buy Magwai and for list of stores where it’s available, check out

Rraw Fresh Sunblock SPF 75 in Mango Tango and Waterbaby Watermelon

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Sisters and self-described beach babies Ira and Irene Tan’s Rraw products are made from true and kind ingredients, not just for you but for the ocean, too. “It’s actually fairly simple to create a reef-friendly sunscreen! We use a mineral based ingredient called zinc oxide, which is less harmful to corals and not linked to coral bleaching,” they reveal. 

Aside from being reef-friendly, their sunblocks are ultra-light, easy to apply, and leaves no ugly white cast. And they come in two fruity scents (Mango Tango and Waterbaby Watermelon) that capture the spirit of summer perfectly.

To buy Rraw Fresh Sunblock and for a list of stores where it’s available, check out

Beachborn Sunscreen Bar SPF 25

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Here’s another local brand that’s making waves with their handcrafted haircare and skincare products. Their reef-friendly sunscreen is cocoa butter-based, so it even moisturizes your skin as it keeps it safe from the sun.

The people behind Beachborn had our beaches in mind when they created their reef-safe sunscreen. “We found the news about the earth’s depleting reefs alarming. We wanted to create a zero-waste alternative since we live in an archipelago with lots of beautiful beaches,” they explain.

Their sunscreen’s active ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide. “Non-nano” mineral ingredients are safer for reefs than nano ingredients, which are small enough to be absorbed by corals and can thus still impact reefs negatively. They add, “It doesn’t contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, paragons or all those other chemicals often found in commercial brands.”

To buy Beachborn Sunscreen Bar and for a list of stores where it’s available, check out

Human Nature Safe Protect SPF 30 Sunscreen

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One of Human Nature’s advocacies is the environment. They make certain their products are clean and green in every way: They use naturally derived, biodegradable raw materials that undergo eco-friendly processes and do not leave toxic traces after use. 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they came out with the first Philippine-made, reef-safe sunscreen that’s 100 percent free from chemicals that are harmful for you and the ocean.

Like their website says, “With Human Nature, you can be sure that what you’re using has been carefully formulated to be safe for our planet.”

To buy Human Nature Safe Protect Sunscreen and for a list of stores where it’s available, check out –


Maggie Adan is a storyteller at heart. She is a freelance editor, writer, and content creator.

When she’s not stringing words together, she’s practicing yoga, doing crafts, puttering around in the kitchen, or providing free petting services to neighborhood dogs.

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