The days are warmer and people are going to be soaking up the sun this Memorial Day Weekend. We want you to have as much fun as possible this holiday weekend, and throughout the summer, but we also want you to protect your skin. Since May 27th is National Sunscreen Day, how are you going to protect yourself from getting sunburned? You may want to think twice before lathering yourself with sunscreen.
Last year, Hawaii passed a bill banning the sale of sunscreens that contain chemicals that harm coral reefs. This legislation essentially prohibits the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, both of which contribute to coral bleaching. An estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen are deposited in oceans every year, with the greatest damage to reefs in the Caribbean and Hawaii.
Hawaii’s reefs have been worsening over the past 20 years, which is why so many people have come together to support the passing of this bill. There are already some sunscreen companies that are making mineral sunscreens with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These minerals must be non-nano in order to be reef-safe. Anything under 100 nanometers can be ingested by coral. The new rule will go into effect on January 1st, 2021.
What Should You Use To Protect Your Skin?
Sunscreen either protects your skin with a mineral barrier or a chemical barrier. Mineral sunscreens essentially create a physical barrier to protect your skin from the sun. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, usually contain oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. With all these chemicals, you might be wondering if any get absorbed by your skin and enter other tissues in the body.
New research suggests that these chemicals disrupt normal endocrine and thyroid function, and they may even interfere with other hormone processes in the body. Oxybenzone, the most commonly used chemical in sunscreen, was found in roughly 96% of the population. This chemical can reduce sperm count in men and contribute to endometriosis in women.
Get your vitamin D and go out in the sun, but make sure to do so responsibly. If you don’t want to wear a hat or cover up a little, use natural sunscreen alternatives from TropicSport, Alba, or Raw Elements. These sunscreen companies make healthy, reef-safe products.