We have to protect our skin from UV rays, but some mainstream sunscreens cause harm to the environment. Here’s our Ocean-Friendly Sunscreen Guide with a few recommendations to help protect your skin and the planet this Summer.
When it comes to choosing ocean-friendly sunscreen there are a few ingredients you need to avoid. Always check the label and be sure to look for the Certified Organic Ingredients mark.
Toxic Sunscreen Ingredients To Avoid
UV Filters That Harm Marine Life
Common ingredients found in most mainstream sun creams are the UV filters Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, sadly these two nasties have been reported to cause significant harm to the environment. In fact, holiday destination Key West and Hawaii have both banned products containing them. Even the tiniest amount of these two toxic chemicals have been found to be harmful to marine life and the DNA of coral, causing the inability to reproduce, bleaching and death. They have also been found to mimic oestrogen and cause dramatic hormonal changes and deformities in fish.
“Despite its known toxicity to both humans and the environment, and the fact that it has been found in more than 96 percent of Americans, Oxybenzone remains in two-thirds of non-mineral sunscreens,”– Environmental Working Group Research Analyst Carla Burns
Oxybenzone has also been under scrutiny from the Environmental Working Group, who have highlighted concerns about the chemical’s harmful impact on the human body. Though more research still needs to be done, some studies have linked it to increased rates of endometriosis in women and disrupted sperm production in men.
Avoid Zinc Oxide In Sun Creams
Zinc oxide is commonly used in mainstream cosmetics and is not a cause for concern in general use, however when used in sun creams it can cause problems. Reactions with chemical pollutants, heat or sunlight can cause the release of Zinc ions making it highly toxic to aquatic life.
The good news is that for all the toxic sun creams on the market, there are lots of healthy ocean-friendly alternatives to choose from. Green People have an eco-safe sun cream range which supports The Marine Conservation Society, donating 20p from every sale of their full sized ocean-friendly sun lotions to the worthy cause.
National Geographic reports that each year about 14,000 tons of sunscreen end up in our oceans
Ocean-Friendly Sun Filters
Green People use ocean-freindly filters in their Scent Free Sun Cream SPF30 choosing to use Titanium dioxide, which acts as a reflective barrier predominantly to UVB radiation. They also use Isoamyl, P-methoxycinnamte which is derived from Cinnamic acid found in the leaves of the cinnamon tree, providing natural protection against UVB radiation. For protection against UVA radiation they use Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate. Although this ingredient is synthetically produced it biodegrades readily and has no harmful impact on the environment.
Throughout Summer our skin changes, for me that means getting the odd heat rash and having to avoid getting burnt in the sunshine. The Scent Free Sun Cream SPF30 from Green People has been a welcome addition to my Summer skin protection as it gently absorbs in to the skin and doesn’t feel heavy, greasy or irritating. When the British Summer Time graces us with a day of sunshine, the Hydrating Aftersun Aloe Vera & Peppermint is ideal for applying to the skin after a day out walking, made using 94% certified organic ingredients it keeps the skin soft and moisturised. Most recently I’ve been using the Edelweiss & Green Tea SPF 30 Hand Guard which is an excellent choice for keeping your hands protected from the sun, perfect for anyone who is often outside gardening!
*this post contains affiliate links, opinions very much my own