Suns out, buns/guns out! It is summer!!! and normally that means sun, unless you live in Germany…. than it can mean as well storms and rain, but this is not the topic of this episode. For this episode we imagine that there is sun, a lot of sun. So much sun that you feel warm and energised, and also so much sun that your skin starts to burn. This is at latest the point where you should apply sun screen. With any other product there is a huge variety of possibilities to choose from.
In this episode I will try to give an overview of what to look out for when you buy sun screen, because for me an active and sustainable lifestyle also means a healthy lifestyle.
Sunscreen is a very controversial topic and many different stakeholder discuss about it very emotional. I will try to give a hoot overview and add a little bit of my own opinion to help you choose the healthiest sunscreen that has the least impact on the environment.
Most of the data of this podcast episode is based on the current sun screen report of the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
There are good reasons to take care of your skin: in the last 35 years the number of people diagnosed with deadly skin cancer (melanoma) tripled. In general there are two different kinds of active ingredients in sun screen or sun blocker.
1. Chemical active ingredients
They block the UVA and UVB light in that way, that the wave lengths of the light changes molecule and because of that do not reach the skin anymore. Some of them enter your skin and can still be detected after a long time in blood or breast milk.
The most controversial discussed is oxybenzone. There are multiple studies that proved that it causes DNA damage in adults and deforms the DNA in coral in the larval stage, preventing new coral from developing properly and multiplying and accumulate in fish and the environment, and disrupt hormones in fish and amphibians. Additionally oxybenzone shows significant photoallergenic or allergenic effects in multiple human case studies.
Another very controversial discussed chemical active ingredient is retinyl palmitate, or vitamin A palmitate. The EWG claims that it is carcinogenic, but there are also studies that could not reproduce this result.
2. Physical active ingredients
These are active ingredients, that are not entering your skin and protect your skin by reflecting the sunlight. The mainly used ones are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They are added as white pigments to the sunscreen or cream, so that you actually look white when you apply it.
Sometimes the particles are milled so small that they become nanoparticles, so that your skin does not look as white any more, but the effect of absorption of the skin and effect on yourself has not yet been tested.
There are a lot other aspects to consider when you choose a sunscreen. For example you should be really careful with sprays because inhaling the sunscreen is dangerous. Also it is interesting the the sunburn protection factor (SPF) in Europe covers UVA and UVB light, while the SPF in sun blockers from the states only covers UVB rays and therefore does not give you the full protection.
There is just one more important fact that I want to highlight here. Every year, approximately 14,000 tons of sunscreen ends up in coral reefs worldwide. Combined with the oxybenzone as an active ingredient in sunscreen you actively contribute to coral bleaching, when you go into the ocean with sunscreen on.
But what to do now?
First of all you should listen to the podcast and write me review on iTunes for the podcast 🙂
But of your I also collected some hacks and tipps for you, what to use.
Now go out and enjoy the sun, if it is not too strong!
Hacks and tipps
1. Rash guards, scuba suits and hats are other environmentally-friendly ways to protect oneself from the sun.
2. Look up the EWG (environmental working group) guide for sunscreen and choose from their comprehensive list
3. Use natural mineral sunscreen – I put some organic ones in the description
4. DO not use sunscreen at all if the sun is not to strong and rather spent some time in the shadow
5. If you are in the sun often visit the dermatologist regularly
EWG sun screen report
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photo: by chezbeate from pixabay