Is sun cream environmentally friendly It can depend on what type you use.
Sunscreens generally fall into 2 categories –
Chemical – the type you are most likely to buy from a supermarket or high street chemist and see advertised on TV.
Mineral. – Usually made by smaller companies and not so readily available on the high street.
There is mounting evidence that chemical sunscreen /creams /lotions/blocks are not environmentally friendly.
Due to a few of the ingredients they use.
Bleaching of coral reef and hormone disruption to fish.
This happens with very small amounts of these chemicals being present in the water.
It has led to chemical sunscreens being banned in countries such as Hawaii and the US Virgin Isles, Florida Key West and Aruba.
But what if you’re not swimming in the sea?
It’s still a problem. At some point, you are going to have a shower or bath and wash the sun cream that remains on your skin into the waterways.
Which often get flushed into the rivers and seas.
But that’s not all. Chemical sunscreens work by sinking into your skin, they absorb the UV rays and disperse them. Because they absorb into the skin these ingredients – like oxybenzone – have been found in blood, urine and even breastmilk.
It is also believed to be a skin irritant. And ironically, In 2012, the Environmental Working Group released a report recommending that sunscreens be free of oxybenzone due to concerns it might cause skin cancer.
So what is different about mineral sunscreen?
Mineral sunscreen is usually made with more natural ingredients. It uses zinc and or titanium dioxide as the primary UV filters.
Rather than sinking into the skin, they sit on the skin and reflect the UV rays away.
Because they are designed to work by staying on top of your skin, much less absorption into the skin should occur.
Due to their natural nature, they are also biodegradable so do not hang around and harm the environment.
Why doesn’t everyone uses mineral sunscreens?
Traditionally because they stay on the surface of your skin, mineral sunscreens caused you to look very pale. You could see the sun cream. Which wasn’t the look most people were going for on their holidays!
Times have changed and most mineral sunscreens do not cause you to look overly pasty. Whilst they may be thicker in consistency when applying, they end up being invisible.
Another bonus of mineral sunscreens is that they are effective immediately. Most chemical sunscreens are not effective until around 20mins after application. Meaning, that someone with very pale skin or delicate skin like a child could still get burned before the sun cream has started working.
In our experience, companies who are making mineral Sunscreens care about protecting your skin, and also the wider environment.
So if you’re heading off on holiday, enjoying some time in the garden or you wear some SPF every day, consider using mineral sunscreen. Because protecting ourselves shouldn’t be at the cost of others.