Hawaii has ban most sunscreens in an effort to help protest the region’s dying coral reefs.

The ban, which is the first in the world, will halt the sale of creams containing oxybenzone or octinoxate except to those with a prescription.

Only those with a medically prescribed sunscreen containing the chemicals will be allowed to obtain the product.

Some 70 per cent of sunscreens sold in the US are thought to contain oxybenzone and 8 per cent use octinoxate.

Sunscreen makers opposed the Hawaiian bill, as did some dermatologists, who worry about sunburns and skin cancer.

Studies have shown that oxybenzone and octinoxate, which filter ultraviolet radiation and are commonly found in cream-based sunscreens, cause bleaching in coral reefs. By changing the DNA in coral cells, the chemicals cause the cells to starve and die, according to the research.

“This bill is a small first step worldwide to really caring about our corals and our reefs in a way that no one else anywhere in the world has done,” said the Governor.

“We are blessed in Hawaii to be home of some of the most beautiful natural resources on the planet, but our natural environment is fragile, and our own interaction with the Earth can have everlasting impacts,” Ige said.

The ban -which impacts more than 3,500 of the most popular sunscreen products- goes into effect on January 1, 2021.