With the constant warnings about the dangers of sun exposure, most of us know the importance of sunscreen.
But sunscreens are often filled with toxic chemicals that we absorb right into our bodies (source).
Not only do these toxic ingredients affect us, but they affect the environment as well. The most common and dangerous chemicals include Oxybenzone, Butylparaben, and Octinoxate.
Oxybenzone, for example, is a popular ingredient because of its ability to absorb UV rays. But it has been shown to have a negative effect on our body’s endocrine system (source).
It is also proven to have a lethal effect on coral reefs by bleaching and poisoning the coral. Freshwater fish in lake and rivers can also be affected by the sunscreen that washes off swimmers.
The safest sunscreens for you, and for the environment, are mineral sunscreens.
These sunscreens contain Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These minerals work by reflecting UV rays off of your skin, and, as long as these minerals are non-nano particles, they are considered reef safe. This means they will not harm coral reefs.
So what are the best mineral sunscreens to use?
Thinksport was created with the intent to be the safest sunscreen possible. With sound science behind their product and sustainable, eco-friendly packaging, Thinksport is focused on safe, effective product for you and the environment.
We recommend Thinksport's Safe Sunscreen, SPF 50 for reef-safe heavy duty sun exposure.
Australian Gold is a brand created to protect the sun-loving outdoors men and women all over the world.
Australian Gold is focused on creating gentle and effective sun protection using both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It is also reef-safe, as well as Paraben and Phthalate free!
We recommend Australian Gold's Botanical Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30 as it contains antioxidant rich plants like Kakadu Plum, Eucalyptus and Red Algae.
Badger sunscreen is not only reef-friendly, but it’s also organic and GMO free! Badger is focused on keeping families, and the environment, happy and healthy.
We recommend their Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion - SPF 30 with it's moisturizing aloe and sunflower oil.
Many sunscreens contain pore-clogging oils that can cause breakouts.
Supergoop is an excellent option, especially for those who have acne-prone skin.
All Good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen is made from of zinc oxide and several skin nourishing ingredients including aloe, calendula, green tea, and rose hips. They recommended using after moisturizer for a smoother application. This product is reef-friendly too!
So you know which sunscreens to use, but how should you use them?
Try these tips!
- Follow the directions given by the sunscreen maker. Different brands have different recommended usages and reapplication times.
- Always do a patch test to make sure you don't react to any of the ingredients before applying all over. Apply a small amount to the inside of your elbow, and wait a few minutes. If burning, itching, or redness occurs, do not use the product!
- Test out sunscreen before major sun exposure! Should a brand not work for you, you don't want to find out halfway through your day! Try out new sunscreens on a day where you don't need to be in the sun for hours, should you start to burn.
- Pack a rash guard and a hat, you may need more sun protection around midday or if you start to burn.
- Don't forget your scalp, ears, and lips can burn too! Apply sunscreen or keep them covered!
Don't see your favorite brand? Let us know! We'd love your feedback!