Diving Deeper into Sunscreen: Safeguarding your Skin and the Sea

As the mercury rises and summer days beckon us outdoors, the importance of sunscreen cannot be overstated.

However, the choice of sunscreen goes beyond merely safeguarding our skin from harmful rays. Research has found that common sunscreen ingredients, including oxybenzone, octinoxate, parabens, and synthetic fragrances, are not only potential health hazards for us but can also cause significant harm to aquatic life.

Here, we'll explore the impact of these chemicals on our oceans and marine life and recommend five safer, environmentally friendly sunscreens that are free of these harmful substances.
Why the Fuss Over Sunscreen Ingredients?

Oxybenzone and Octinoxate: These chemicals are effective in absorbing harmful UVA and UVB rays but have been found to seep into the bloodstream, leading to potential hormonal disruptions and allergic reactions.

Parabens: These preservatives are suspected of interfering with hormone function by mimicking estrogen. Alarmingly, traces of parabens have been discovered in human breast cancer tissues.

Artificial Fragrances: Synthetic fragrances may trigger allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. The term "fragrance" on a product label often conceals various chemical ingredients, some of which may be harmful.

Sunscreen's Impact on Aquatic Life

Recent studies have discovered that oxybenzone, octinoxate, and other common sunscreen ingredients can contribute to coral bleaching and are toxic to certain fish species and other marine creatures. Such chemicals can alter the DNA of coral, making them less resilient to climate change and impeding their reproduction and growth. With millions of sunscreen-coated tourists entering ocean waters annually, the cumulative impact on marine ecosystems is substantial.

Understanding Non-Nano Zinc Oxide in Sunscreens

When it comes to safer sun protection, one ingredient frequently comes into the spotlight: non-nano zinc oxide. But what exactly is it, and why should you consider it in your sunscreen selection?

What is Non-Nano Zinc Oxide?

Zinc oxide is a mineral that provides broad-spectrum protection from UV rays by sitting on top of the skin and reflecting sunlight. "Non-nano" means that the particles of zinc oxide are larger and do not penetrate the skin, hence are less likely to enter the bloodstream. It also means that they are less likely to harm marine life when washed off in the ocean.

Why Choose Non-Nano Zinc Oxide?

Broad Spectrum Protection: Non-nano zinc oxide shields your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays contribute to premature skin aging and wrinkles, while UVB rays can burn the skin. Both types can cause skin cancer.

Safe for Sensitive Skin: Because non-nano zinc oxide doesn't penetrate the skin, it's less likely to cause irritation or allergies, making it a great choice for people with sensitive skin or conditions like rosacea and acne.

Environmentally Friendly: Non-nano zinc oxide is reef safe. Unlike oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can cause coral bleaching, non-nano zinc oxide is less damaging to marine ecosystems.

Five Environmentally Friendly Sunscreen Options

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30: This sunscreen offers broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection using non-nano zinc oxide. 

Thinksport SPF 50+ Sunscreen: An excellent choice devoid of biologically harmful chemicals, 

Badger SPF 30 Unscented Sunscreen Cream: Perfect for those sensitive to fragrances, this sunscreen consists of only five ingredients making it safe for you and the ocean.

Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30: This zinc oxide-based sunscreen is a lightweight, water-resistant formula that blends seamlessly into the skin. Plus, Beautycounter is well-known for its rigorous ingredient selection process, ensuring that it's safe for both humans and marine life.

ATTITUDE Mineral Sunscreen Stick, Kids, Face, Unscented, SPF 30:  Crafted with children's delicate skin in mind, this Canadian sunscreen stick employs zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for broad-spectrum sun defense. 

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**Some links above are affiliate links.  I only recommend products I personally use and recommend to my clients.  If you are interested in trying Beautrycounter, you can shop directly through their website, in select Ulta stores or through a Brand Advocate.  Feel free to email me at [email protected] and I'm happy to help you if you don't already shop with a Brand Advocate, or click here to learn more about this mission-based brand.


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