Whenever we go to the dermatologist, the main recommendation is: don't go out without sunscreen! Well, sunscreen has become a basic everyday product, but what many are not aware of is that the chemical components it contains have a negative impact on the environment.
Recently, new studies have appeared that present alternatives for skin and environmental care. Natural sunscreens help not only to protect your skin, but also to prevent the marine environment from becoming polluted.
Sunscreens and the marine environment
There are many places where we use sunscreens, but the marine environment is one of the places where millions of people gather and use this cream with the same purpose, to protect themselves from the sun's UV rays. This has led specialized scientists to carry out studies on the impact of the chemicals used in sunscreens on the marine ecosystem.
The negative impact is overwhelming, components such as Benzophenone-3, methylparaben, polyethylene and octocrylene are part of the chemicals that are silently destroying coral reefs, thus contributing to the accelerated bleaching of coral systems.
In addition, all the creams tested in these studies were found to be detrimental to the growth of marine plants, slowing their development. One of the species most affected by these chemicals is plankton, thus affecting the base of the marine food chain.
In recent years, sustainable sunscreens have been introduced in the market that represent a natural alternative for the preservation of the marine environment.
Banning oxybenzones in the seas
Once the repercussions caused by common sunscreens and the chemicals they contain became known, many natural areas have decided to ban their use.
This is the case of Hawaii and the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, which have made public the prohibition of all sunscreens containing chemicals harmful to corals and marine fauna. And they approve products that guarantee a correct interaction of the compounds with the seas.
Traces of sunscreen components have been found in water, sediments and organisms. They have been found in mussels, dolphins, and even in bird eggs in the Doñana Park.
Why corals are so important and why we must protect them
They are fundamental to the ocean ecosystem. They constitute 1 % of its marine surface, but host almost 25 % of the biodiversity. Coral reefs have 4000 species of fish, 700 species of corals and thousands of other plants and animals.
They are also important for the tourism industry in several countries, control coastal waves and prevent or help reduce natural disasters, among other benefits.
New alternatives for conservation: reef safe
The proposal of sustainable and environmentally friendly sunscreens focuses on the fact that the filters they contain are biodegradable and do not alter the marine ecosystem.
The sunscreens are made from organic and biodegradable raw materials, which allows it to be a product to be used in any environmental setting, without producing alterations or damage to the environment. When choosing a sunscreen, you should pay attention to the components it contains and the environmental seals that ensure marine protection.
Coral reef or reef safe certified sunscreens do not contain octocrylene, benzophenone, hexyldodecanol, methylparaben, polyethylene, propylparaben, phenoxyethanol or butylcarbamate. They are free of parabens and petroleum derivatives. They are products with organic seals that guarantee that their components are friendly to the seabed.
As it is a product that has recently been consolidated in the market, myths have been created about the effectiveness of green sunscreens to protect the skin from UV rays. However, studies such as Friend of the Sea have shown that not only are they 100 percent effective in skin care, but they also meet the standards of care for marine ecosystems.
We recommend this article from Hawaii to choose your next sunscreen this summer:
Join the fight!