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Mineral-based sunscreen is not a joke.

It got a lot of laughs when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg over-applied that heavy-duty zinc oxide, but we still think it’s pretty cool.

Even through the smiles, people pointed out that minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are more effective sunscreens than the chemical alternatives. That’s because they work by sitting on top of your skin and reflecting the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them into your body.

Just as importantly, a non-nano whitening sunscreen isn’t harming near or far coral reefs the way chemical sunscreens do. The Hawaiian legislature already has banned the sale of the most toxic sunscreen ingredients beginning next year, and bills banning sunscreen ingredients except the FDA-approved minerals are being considered now in many locations. Zuckerberg is just ahead of his time again!

And one of the arguably most attractive billionaires around thinks Stream2Sea’s titanium dioxide sunscreen is the best choice too. Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Galactic and now Virgin Voyages, chose Stream2Sea as his partner for reef-safe sunscreen (Check out this really cool video he did – no one laughing at him.)

The trick to using reef safe sunscreens without looking like a mime – in case you haven’t tried – is to apply a much smaller amount in sections, rather than all at once.  Mineral sunscreens don’t spread as well as the chemical-based formulations, so apply just a small amount to your face.  Because the minerals sit on top of your skin rather than absorb into your body, you can achieve very effective protection without the harmful chemicals.  (Learn more here.)

We see white, over-applied faces on dive boats nearly every time we go out. Some people may laugh, but I admire them for wanting to choose a safer product for their bodies and for the reefs!