Green Sunscreens are better for you and the environment

In honor of my first (and hopefully last) sunburn of the season, we’re reviewing green sunscreens to help you choose your lotion carefully.  Of course, you should always use sunscreen before going outdoors - even if its just a walk to the bus stop - but some formulations are better than others when it comes to safety and “greenness.”

This year when you slather on lotions to block harmful UVA and UVB rays, which can prevent skin cancer - consider whether the ingredients in your sunscreen are safe for the environment.

I was surprised to learn that some formulations include chemicals that can harm marine ecosystems, like oxybenzone.  This ingredient imitates female hormones and can actually result in trans-sexual fish.  Other ingredients such as cinnamate and benzopheonone tend to wash off in water and can cause coral bleaching by killing the algae that protects the delicate reefs.  Regardless of the SPF level, use of these sunscreens can start damaging the ecosystem within 4 days.

In addition to potential environmental harm, some studies have drawn a connection between lotions with oxybenzone and/or PABA (parabens) and skin cancer, or other cancers.  That’s right!  The precise malady you are trying to avoid by using sunscreen may be more prone to occur if you do not choose your sunscreen carefully.

Be a smart consumer and read the labels carefully!  Even some sunscreens claiming to be “natural” may contain these harmful ingredients.

kevin #1

Baby Sunscreen is usually safe and green

My research has consistently shown that sunscreen formulations for babies are most likely to be toxin-free and effective.  Other recommended alternatives are lotions that contain zinc dioxide or titanium dioxide, and you no longer have to suffer the indignity of a white nose!

There is no need to be afraid of sunscreens - or being in the sun - as long as you choose products that are paraben-free and do not contain oxybenzone.  There are many formulations on the market that are healthy, safe and green.

So get out and enjoy your summer, in a toxin-free and sunburn-free way!

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2 Responses to “Green Sunscreens”

  1. Thanks for the info on sunscreens. I found one at the local Whole Foods that is awesome, Caribbean Solutions. It is completely natural, no chemicals and says “reef friendly” on the label. They smell great too and my kids love them. I have only used the SPF 15 for me and a product called Kid Kare with an SPF 25. Great stuff!

  2. Hunter - great tip! Thanks for the information. I love that its also labeled as “reef friendly.” I’m heading to Whole Foods later today and will check for these products. Cheers, Stephanie

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