Wait, sunscreen isn’t safe?!?

Protecting your skin from the sun’s UV rays should be a consideration whenever the sun shines, but never more so than now, as we head into the season of the sun’s greatest intensity.  The solution used to be simple and the benefits obvious:  apply and re-apply a sunscreen of at least (you fill in the blank) SPF to all exposed skin to avoid sunburns, wrinkles and even skin cancers.  Now it appears the question is not so simple

Last summer we wrote about the harmful toll that most sunscreens take on the oceans and aquatic life and so the recommendation was to avoid products that contain oxybenzone and octinoxat (clearly listed on the ingredients label) in favor of mineral sunscreens that are fully biodegradable and safe for reefs and marine life.  Simple right?  Well, that was last year.  A recent study on sunscreen absorption into the bloodstream has caused concern about harmful impacts on human life. The Food and Drug Administration isn’t going to offer official guidance until later this year so what are we supposed to do this summer?  Stay inside?

Here is one option: The FDA has said that they consider sunscreens with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as active ingredients to be safe for humans because they are not absorbed through the skin. Products that contain those active ingredients include the biodegradable sunscreens that are safer for the environment.   While the FDA studies are on-going, our best available option may be a biodegradable sunscreen.

If you Google “biodegradable sunscreen,” you will find several mineral products that give protection from the sun without harming the planet.  One of them, Stream2Sea, is a SoundWaters supporter.  Any order you make with Stream2Sea using the code  “SoundWaters” will generate a 10% discount for you and a donation to support SoundWaters  environmental education programs. 

Also, think about wearing a long sleeve shirt or rash guard when you are in the water; SoundWaters summer campers will all be wearing them all summer.

Enjoy our lakes, rivers and oceans this summer and don’t forget to put on your sunscreen!