What to Look For in an Environmentally Safe Sunscreen

As summer approaches and the weather starts to warm up, many of us can look forward to relaxing outside, perhaps by the pool or at the beach. Yet spending any amount of time exposed to the sun’s rays carries the risk of damage to the skin. Sunscreen lotions are specially designed to protect our bodies from the detrimental effects of sun exposure. However, many common sunscreen products have been found to contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment, particularly ocean life, when applied before swimming, as well as being potentially toxic to the body when used long-term. Fortunately, there are sunscreens out there that have been designed using natural ingredients to offer full sun protection without any harmful side effects. Here are some things to look out for when choosing an environmentally safe sunscreen.

Natural and Organic Ingredients

One of the best indicators that a sunscreen product is safe for the environment is by looking at its certification. If the product has certifications such as organic, natural or vegan ingredients, then it is safe to assume that any artificial chemicals that may be toxic to the body and environment have been left out. Instead, these sunscreens will use safe mineral ingredients such as spruce extract and polyphenols that provide the same amount of sun protection as common sunscreen products but without the risks.

No Harmful Chemicals

Another aspect of sunscreen products you need to look out for is what sort of chemicals they use. Two chemicals used as UV filters in many common sunscreen products are oxybenzone and octinoxate. Oxybenzone has been found to cause damage to coral reefs, while octinoxate is highly toxic to marine life and causes serious health problems to these animals when consumed. While some common sunscreen products may list such ingredients, not all of them do, Therefore, it is best to choose a natural sunscreen product that specifically mentions that it does not contain these products to ensure you are getting environmentally friendly sun protection.

Avoid Toxic Ingredients

While sunscreens are designed to protect us from the harmful rays of the sun, sometimes the ingredients used can cause us health problems in other ways. Some chemicals like octocrylene can cause skin irritations, while others such as cinoxate, ensulizole and padimate O have been linked to diseases and mutations in the body. Choosing a natural sunscreen is the best way to keep your body free from toxic chemicals and nanoparticles. If in doubt, always check the ingredients listed for the product and opt for a sunscreen that uses minerals and other natural ingredients.

Check the SPF Rating

As you check each sunscreen product to ensure it’s both non-toxic and environmentally safe, don’t forget to make sure it also provides the right amount of sun protection. An SPF rating of 30 or 50 will offer a high amount of protection from UVB radiation, while a good quality natural sunscreen will also contain organic filters that can protect against harmful UVA rays as well. In the end, having a natural or mineral sunscreen on hand will keep you protected through the summer without worrying about harming your body or the environment.