Do you really know what’s in your sunscreen? This blog will discuss why it is essential to know what’s in your sunscreen, the different kinds of sunscreen available to consumers, and the consequences of using a chemical sunscreen. So grab your reading goggles, and let’s dive in!
This summer, you want to make sure that your sunscreen is healthy for both your skin and the environment. Although most sunscreens pose a culmination of human health risks, the problems don’t end there. Did you know most sunscreens contain harmful chemicals that kill coral reefs and our little fishy friends that live inside them? To keep our beautiful and diverse ocean life safe and happy, switching to reef-safe sunscreen is essential to their protection.
Sunscreen's Side Effects on the Environment:
First, it is important to recognize that the terms “reef-friendly” and “reef-safe” are marketing tactics used by companies to make you ethically drawn to buying them. However, these terms are not legally regulated. So, just because the bottle is labeled “reef-friendly” or “reef-safe” does not mean that your sunscreen is harmless.
Before discussing why it is crucial to ensure that your sunscreen is legitimately reef-safe, it is also important to note why coral reefs are essential to the environment. Coral reefs support biodiversity in both the ocean and the air we breathe. Coral reefs are also homes for many organisms such as a variety of fish, sponges, oysters, clams, crabs, starfish, sea urchins, algae, and more. Not only do coral reefs serve as homes to a multitude of marine life, but they also purify the air we breathe by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Coral reefs even protect coastlines from storms and erosion. Can you see why it is so important to protect them?
This is where the importance of always reading the back of the label and knowing which ingredients to look out for comes in. By reading the back of the label, you are doing your part as a consumer to shop smart and sustainable!
The Difference Between Ingredients:
There are two common types of sunscreens: chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreen, which is more common, is designed to be absorbed by the skin and protects by absorbing UV rays, whereas mineral sunscreen is designed to sit on top of your skin and protects you by scattering and reflecting UV rays.
Several ingredients in chemical sunscreens contribute to coral bleaching. Roughly 14,000 tons of sunscreen are thought to wash into the ocean each year from swimming and showering. Chemical sunscreens contain nanoparticles that can damage coral’s reproductive and growth cycle. Major toxic effects from sunscreen chemicals found in developing coral include increased susceptibility to bleaching, DNA damage, abnormal skeleton growth, and deformities of baby coral.
Now you may be wondering, how do I know if my sunscreen is actually reef-safe or mineral sunscreen? It’s simple! Start by flipping over the bottle and reading the ingredients. If your sunscreen contains any of the following ingredients, it is not reef-safe and is most likely a chemical sunscreen. This list includes the following:
- 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
- Any nanoparticles or “nano-sized” zinc or titanium (if it doesn’t explicitly say “micro-sized” or “non-nano” and it can rub in, it’s probably nano-sized)
Any form of microplastic, such as “exfoliating beads”
Several of the chemicals listed above also pose a threat to your health. So, if you’re not paying attention to your sunscreen’s ingredients for the sake of the environment, it is essential to pay attention to these ingredients for the sake of your skin’s health!
Sunscreen's Tole on Your Skin's Health:
In 2019 the Federal Food and Drug Association (the agency that governs sunscreen safety) found that only two ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, could be classified as safe and effective, based on the currently available information. But in the past year, numerous new studies have raised new concerns about endocrine-disrupting effects from three other ingredients: homosalate, avobenzone, and oxybenzone. However, as mentioned before, it is important to ensure that zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are non-nano sized so that they do not pose a threat to the environment.
In addition, we are able to recognize that these chemicals are still the most active ingredients in many sunscreens. These chemicals are not deemed as safe and effective by the FDA due to the percentage of these chemicals exceeding the marginal percentage of safety to be used. Moreover, many of the chemicals listed above pose threats to skin penetration (entering our bloodstream), hormone disruption and imbalance, skin allergies, and other concerns.
Make the Switch to Natural Sun Protection:
So, you want to make the switch but don’t know where to find skin and reef-safe sun protection? Luckily for you, Primal Life Organics has a plethora of Sun Protection products for you to choose from that are eco-friendly, safe for your skin, and made of recognizable ingredients. Our Sun Protection line includes Sun-Up (available in Spray and Tin), Sun-Up Lip Protector, Lickity Split Elixir, Sun-Down (After Sun) moisturizer, and more!
The ingredients in our Sun-Up Spray include: Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Pure Filtered Beeswax*, Avocado Oil*, Extra Virgin Olive Oil*, Virgin Coconut Oil*, Vitamin E Oil*, Carrot Seed*, Lavender*, Myrrh*, and Sandalwood* (*Certified Organic)
The ingredients in our Sun-Up Tin include: Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Pure Filtered Beeswax*, Avocado Oil*, Non-nano Zinc Oxide, Extra Virgin Olive Oil*, Virgin Coconut Oil*, Vitamin E Oil*, Carrot Seed*, Lavender*, Myrrh*, and Sandalwood* (*Certified Organic)
For more information on how these ingredients and our other Sun Protection products naturally protect your skin from the sun, please visit our website. All of our products have the ingredients listed and descriptions of how these ingredients protect your skin from the sun.
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