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Sun Protection Trends Finally Swinging in the Right Direction for People AND the Earth! What’s Happening Now with Tatyana Cerullo of Kōkua Suncare

Remember last year when Hawaii banned some conventional sunscreen ingredients that were totally toxic to the coral reefs?

And now last month the FDA is actually beginning to take steps to remove GRASE status from pretty much ALL the conventional, non-mineral sunscreen ingredients! Things are moving in the right direction for the health of our oceans AND our children’s development (and future fertility) and I couldn’t be more excited.

Today I get to host Tatyana Cerullo to talk about what really happened in Hawaii and how that legal battle started a snowball effect about sunscreen in the tropics that hopefully won’t stop anytime soon!

The good news is that other places are following Hawaii’s lead; the bad news is that there’s always going to be pushback from the industry, and that’s definitely happening. Enjoy Tatyana’s interview and passion for the subject and for the health of all our children! (This just in! Oxybenzone linked to serious birth defect, Hirschsprung’s Disease.)

No time for the whole interview? It’s fascinating but I hear you, busy families! You can “skim” the video using these notes and learn a lot just from reading. (You’re welcome) 😉

Our guest, Tatyana Cerullo, is an attorney from Hawaii, a former triathlete, a sunscreen formulator and most importantly, mom of 2 lovely children. She and her husband, an adventurous sailing/outdoor type, founded Kōkua Suncare in 2017 and are fervent advocates of reef safety and human health when it comes to what we put on our skin to protect from the sun.

  • 0:16: Chemical sunscreens are bad for our bodies, the oceans and the environment – more “why” in the vid.
  • 0:34: In 2018, we began seeing some legislation against some of the ingredients in these chemical sunscreens. It’s very exciting!
  • 0:51: Today we’re talking to Tatyana Cerullo. She’s an attorney turned sunscreen formulator, and we’re going to talk about sunscreen legislation.
  • 1:45: Tatyana shares how she got from law school to owning a sunscreen company. Her plan was to be an environmental lawyer. As she began her career, she ended up in corporate law, and always wanted to do something for the environment.
  • 4:28: Tatyana started Kōkua Suncare with her husband in 2017. They wanted to create a sunscreen that was safe and natural, but went on smooth like a lotion.
Tube of Kokua Sunscreen
  • 5:12: When Tatyana met her husband they were at different places when it came to sunscreen. She was using mineral sunscreens and wasn’t pleased with the application. He was using cheap chemical sunscreens and complained that they didn’t even work. They came together bridge the gap between high performance and safe.
  • 7:22: It’s a tall order to make a mineral sunscreen go on smooth and clear! Tatyana shares some of the details of formulating their sunscreen. They had no idea it would take years to find the right recipe!
  • 9:02: Kōkua is one of the only sunscreens we’ve continued using and finished after testing. We have tried a lot of sunscreens in our house! Get your own for $8 off with the code KS right here.
  • 9:17: Last year Hawaii banned oxybenzone. The media went wild speculating what the ramifications would be. Many claimed skin cancer rates would go up and people would just have to deal with sunburn without this chemical sunscreen ingredient.
We’ve come a long way since the days of the paste over the nose that lifeguards used. There are quality products out there. -Tatyana Cerullo
  • RELATED: Best Natural Daily Facial SPF Moisturizer
  • 10:44: The chemical sunscreen industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and they have a lot to lose by these chemical bans.
  • 10:59: Hawaii has passed this ban already, but it doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2021. In the meantime, the sunscreen industry wants to sell off their inventory and reformulate. There are other toxic ingredients that can be used. This is a great start to raise awareness, but there’s still education and changes that need to be made.
It’s a process of education and awareness and evolving to the point that we have products that are safe and healthy. -Tatyana Cerullo
  • 13:11: Two weeks after Hawaii passed their law, the Caribbean island Bonaire also banned oxybenzone and octinoxate.
  • 13:56: Palau, a small western pacific island, banned 10 ingredients in sunscreens! They are very aware of environmental protection and sustainability. You can’t even bring toxic sunscreen into the country.
  • 16:03: The law in Hawaii and Bonaire only bans the buying and selling of banned sunscreens, but you can bring them in with you.
  • 17:44: The trend is started. Most places will likely start with oxybenzone and octinoxate, but hopefully we will then see more and more toxic chemicals being banned. California just introduced a bill in late 2018.
As the momentum builds people will become aware of other chemicals that are highly toxic as well. -Tatyana Cerullo
  • 19:19: Tatyana has spoken with some lawyers in other tropical islands about passing a sunscreen law there as well. She hopes to write the bill and make it as stringent as the Palau law.
  • 20:16: Key West has the third largest barrier reef. They recently passed a local law against oxybenzone and octinoxate.

RELATED: Cheap Reef-Safe Sunscreens that actually work!

  • 21:22: Many “green” laws are meant to care for the environment. They rarely base anything off human health and safety. Thankfully, these laws benefit both!
  • 23:17: What can we do to help save the oceans and protect our families from these toxic sunscreens? Always read the ingredients on the back of the bottle, sometimes the front can be misleading. You want to use a zinc based sunscreen.

Too much to look through right now?

I organized alllll the sunscreens we reviewed in their recommendation category – one page at-a-glance to find out what is safe to buy AND works! Print it or save to your phone for reference!The guide also includes answers to questions people ask me all the time:
  • Which brand rubs in the clearest?
  • What’s the best for all day outdoor sports?
  • How do I save money on natural sunscreens?
  • What looks good on ladies’ faces?
  • Is there an option that is FAST to apply to wiggly kids?
I’ll send a copy to your email so you can see it right away and find it again later!
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

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2 thoughts on “Sun Protection Trends Finally Swinging in the Right Direction for People AND the Earth! What’s Happening Now with Tatyana Cerullo of Kōkua Suncare”

  1. Have you seen this article? It’s fantastic!

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