Words: Christy Ku
8–14 May 2017 marks Sun Awareness Week, a campaign run by the British Association of Dermatologists.
It’s important to put on that sunscreen and protect your skin from those harmful UV rays, but what’s in that cream? Certain ingredients in sunscreen have the potential to damage your skin. For example, there are concerns that oxybenzone can cause hormonal disruption and retinyl palmitate can accelerate malignant cell growth.
On a larger scale, sunscreen can be toxic towards the environment. According to a study by the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, oxybenzone can be fatal to coral, causing bleaching, damage to its DNA and disrupt its ability to reproduce. Meanwhile, butylparaben, octinoxate (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC) have been shown to cause coral bleaching. As 6,000–14,000 tonnes of sunscreen lotion end up in coral reef areas each year due to swimming and waste water discharges.
Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom – there’s been a rising demand for safe, non-toxic sunscreen that’s good for the sea and your skin. We’ve put together a list of some fantastic non-toxic sunscreen brands that you can try out!
(Note: It’s best to use natural ingredients with non-nano zinc oxide, a mineral that does not harm sea-life and sits on top of your skin, creating a physical barrier rather than being absorbed.)
One of the most popular and highly rated natural sunscreens out there, this balm only contains five ingredients and three of them are certified as organic: non-nano uncoated zinc oxide, organic sunflower oil, organic beeswax, vitamin E and organic seabuckthorn.
It’s water and sweat resistant for 40 minutes of swimming or activity and it’s biodegradable, making it safe for the environment. It’s also cruelty-free and fragrance-free.
A UK-based sunscreen brand has won the Janey Loves Platinum award for sunscreen two years in a row (2015 and 2016). This sunscreen only contains four ingredients: organic coconut oil, unrefined shea butter, unrefined beeswax and non-nano zinc oxide. It’s lightweight and leaves your skin smooth and protected.