We’ve all heard the importance of wearing sunblock anytime we venture outdoors, but did you know that it’s also important to consider how environmentally friendly your sunblock is? It’s true – an eco friendly sunblock can offer quite a few benefits, both for you and for the planet. Not sure what those might be? Let’s take a closer look.
You might not think it, but sunscreens can actually be pollutants. This is particularly true if you’ll be slathering yourself up, and then hitting the beach or swimming in the ocean. Divers, sunbathers and those just out for a romp in the waves inadvertently pollute thousands of gallons of seawater just by wearing sunscreen. How does that happen?
Many ingredients in today’s sunblocks have uses in other areas. Interestingly, some of those are like insecticides. Others are simply harmful to the environment. One of the most common UV-blocking chemicals in sunscreen today is oxybenzone. It washes off your body right into the water. There, this chemical, and others in sunscreen, threaten the life of coral reefs and other marine life.
Better for You
Not only do eco friendly sunblock options help prevent “swimmer pollution” as it’s called, but they can be better for you. There is mounting evidence that chemical-based sunscreens might be able to block some UV-B rays, but they do nothing about the more damaging UV-A rays. What’s more, the chemicals absorb into your body, where they can cause real damage – think hormone disruption for starters. Oxybenzone, mentioned above, can be detected in your urine just 30 minutes after applying sunscreen.
The better option is to use mineral-based, eco friendly sunblock formulations. However, even these are not without their risks. For instance, some mineral sunblocks can break down into what Scientific American calls “potentially irritating and damaging nano-scale particles”.
How to Choose
So, how do you choose which sunblock is right for you? One of the first steps is to look at the list of ingredients. If you see a list of chemicals that you can’t pronounce, chances are good that it is not eco friendly. Look for a product that is biodegradable, does not include oxybenzone, and is proven safe for marine life. There is no reason to sacrifice protection from the damaging rays of the sun, or to put the ocean at greater risk than it is already – eco friendly sunblock formulations help protect both you and the planet.
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