Summer is a great time to get outside and explore all that Mother Nature has to offer.
From hiking local trails to swimming at a local pool, the extra hours outdoors increase vitamin D levels in your body, which in turn helps your body to retain more calcium and phosphorus and better regulate your immune system. However, it is important to protect your skin against the harmful effects of UV rays by regularly using sunscreen that is healthy for both you and the environment. To help you look out for your skin and the health of the planet, here are tips for choosing the best sunscreens.
What to avoid
Many over-the-counter sunscreens contain chemicals that harm coral reefs and other marine life and can overall reduce the planet’s water quality. The main culprits are oxybenzone and octinoxate, which have been banned by many popular tourist destinations including the US Virgin Islands, the Florida Keys, and Hawaii. Other potentially harmful ingredients include homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate.
Some sunscreens may be marked as “reef safe” or “reef friendly,” but these statements are not currently regulated by the FDA. Instead, it’s best to read the ingredients list on sunscreens before you buy them to ensure that they don’t contain any of the aforementioned ingredients.
What to look for
Instead of reaching for sprays and chemical sunscreens, look for mineral-based products this season. Though not all mineral sunscreens are created equal, the best ones contain uncoated and non-nano-sized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, two ingredients that are FDA approved and better for the environment. Consider trying products like Thinksport SPF 50+, Stream2Sea Sport SPF 30, or Raw Elements Face + Body SPF 30, all of which contain natural ingredients that are safe for your skin. Mineral sunscreens require a bit more work to apply since they sit on the skin and create a physical shield that blocks UV rays, but the health of your skin and the environment makes the extra effort worth it.