Your Safety Questions About Sunscreen, Now Answered. Part 3 of 3
Your Safety Questions About Sunscreen, Now Answered.
Part 3 of 3
What is the impact on the environment?
How long can you keep it? Can you take it as a pill?
Is sun screen bad for the environment?
Research in the past few decades has found that sunscreens containing certain chemical ingredients, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, contributing to coral bleaching, a condition that leaves coral vulnerable to infection and prevents it from getting the nutrients it needs to survive. Even if you’re not at the beach, the sunscreen on your body might still end up in the ocean. Sunscreen is able to get into the water system after you wash it off in the shower.
How best then to protect your skin, and the environment?
Mineral sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide appear to be safer for coral reefs than chemical ones. This fact we love, since our main motto is Beauty without Cruelty. Our sun care products use natural ingredients and a mineral base, namely Zinc Oxide, which in turn cares not only for your skin but also the ocean!
Another option is to cover up with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing. You’ll still want to apply sunscreen to exposed skin, but you’ll need far less – up to half the amount.
What’s Better—a Spray or Lotion?
Both are equally effective. Where it gets tricky is in how they’re applied. To cover your entire bathing-suit-clad body, you need about 30ml (or a shot-glass-full) of sunscreen. This is easy to measure with a lotion, but more complicated with a spray.
For sprays, the best way to ensure you’re getting enough is to spray it liberally on your skin, then rub it in evenly with your hands. Avoid applying where it’s windy, because you might lose some of your sunscreen to the air.
There has been some concern about the safety of sprays, especially the aerosol versions. In the USA, the FDA have said it is exploring the risks of inhaling spray sunscreens. Until we know more, their Consumer Reports’ experts say to avoid using sprays on children, and don’t spray directly on your face. Instead, spray sunscreen onto your hands, then apply it to your face. If you do use a spray on a child, spray the sunscreen into your hands and rub it onto the child’s skin.
Sprays may also contain flammable ingredients, such as alcohol, so you should never apply them near an open flame, according to the FDA.
Does Sun Screen Expire?
Yes, eventually. Our sun screen products are made from natural ingredients and they don’t contain any chemical preservatives, which might influence its consistency and longevity, but certainly not its efficacy. It only expires 2 years after manufacturing date.
If you find an old bottle at the bottom of last summer’s beach tote and can’t remember when you bought it, check the expiration date. If there isn’t one, play it safe and buy a new bottle. In future scribble the purchase date on the new container with a permanent marker.
Remember, too, that even with a new bottle, heat can speed up its breakdown. So keep your sunscreen out of direct sunlight and avoid storing it in places where the temperature can spike, such as in your car. When you’re out in the sun, we recommend swaddling it in a towel or stashing it in the shade or even a cooler box. Our products also don’t contain chemical stabilisers, which might cause the product to react to temperatures, making it softer in heat and slightly harder when it is colder.
Do Sunscreen ‘Pills’ Work?
Nope. As the FDA said in a recent statement, “There’s no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen.”
The FDA have sent warning letters to several supplement makers for including unproven sun-protection claims on the capsules they promoted on their websites. These included misleading statements that their products would “strengthen your skin’s defenses against ultraviolet radiation” or provide “broad-spectrum” protection.” One customer review said, “it’s basically an oral sunscreen … This would be especially useful for people who have had skin cancer, are at risk for skin cancer … ”
Instead of relying on a supplement for sun protection, use sunscreen along with other sun-avoidance strategies, such as seeking shade on sunny days and wearing sun-protective clothing such as hats, long sleeves, sunglasses, and long pants.