Starting this Autumn, sunscreen products that don’t contain minerals will be banned from use on Maui’s beaches. This new ordinance is an effort to protect the island’s coral reefs from being damaged by chemicals found in many popular sunscreens. While some people are concerned that this could lead to a shortage of sunscreens available for tourists, others feel that it’s a necessary step to take to preserve Maui’s natural beauty.

In an effort to reduce the damaging impact of non-mineral sunscreens on ocean wildlife, Maui county has passed Ordinance No. 5306 to ban the use of the said product. The ordinance will take effect on October 1, 2022, and will prohibit the sale, offer for sale, distribution, and use of any sunscreen that contains oxybenzone or octinoxate, two of the most common ingredients in chemical sunscreens which is not mineral-based.

While this may be a bummer for some visitors who are not used to using mineral sunscreens, it is a very necessary step to take in order to preserve Maui’s delicate coral reefs. Coral reefs are essential to the health of our oceans, and they are already in danger due to climate change and other human-caused threats. By banning the use of non-mineral sunscreens, Maui is taking a stand to protect its reefs and the wildlife that depends on them.

Extensive research shows the severe damage of non-mineral sunscreens to local marine wildlife, coral bleaching, and DNA damage. Only mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide and titanium oxide will be allowed, the only exception to this rule is if you have a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider to purchase a non-medical sunscreen.

Maui’s decision is in line with a global shift in awareness of the harmful effects of many common household products on the environment. From single-use plastics to toxic chemicals, more and more people are beginning to understand that our daily choices have a profound impact on the planet. While some might argue that the ban on non-mineral sunscreens is an inconvenience, the truth is that there are plenty of safe and effective mineral sunscreens on the market. And, when it comes to the health of our planet, making small changes in our daily routine is always worth the effort. 

Tips to Purchasing Reef-Safe Sunscreen and Some Recommendations

South Maui, Wailea and South Kihei in particular, is a popular destination for those looking to enjoy shoreline snorkeling.

If you are planning a Maui vacation getaway and are planning on spending some time enjoying that warm Hawaiian sunshine, we highly encourage you to abide by this new ordinance. Whether you are taking advantage of the South Maui lodging options or staying elsewhere on the island, help us keep our beaches a true paradise!

Five tips for buying reef-safe sunscreen:

  1. Look for sunscreens that are labeled “reef-safe.”
  2. Avoid sunscreens with Oxybenzone, octinoxate, avobenzone, and octocrylene
  3. Choose sunscreens with physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  4. Consider eco-friendly brands like Badger, All Good, and Stream2Sea.
  5. Research before you buy! There are many great reef-safe sunscreens on the market today.

Some of our favorite Hawaii Made reef-safe sunscreen products:

  • Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Clear Zinc Lotion for Babies
  • All Good SPF 50 Sport Sunscreen Lotion
  • Raw Love SPF 35 All-natural Mineral Sunscreen Paste
  • Kokua Sun Care Hawaiian SPF 50 Natural Zinc Sunscreen
  • Manda Organic SPF 50 Sun Paste

So, if you’re planning a trip on a vacation rental in Maui, be sure to pack your favorite mineral sunscreen or purchase them in Maui and support our local businesses.! If you’re not sure what kind of sunscreen to use, you can always ask a lifeguard or beachgoer for their recommendations. Either way, remember that protecting Maui’s reefs is everyone’s responsibility. Let’s all do our part to keep our planet beautiful and healthy!