July 25th, 2017

5 Things You Need to Know About Greener Sunscreen.

Great Green Sunscreen Info Graphic

Sunscreen is one of those things we are supposed to apply liberally to our arms, legs, face, kids… so what’s actually IN it? How does it work? Are some sunscreens ‘greener’ than others? Here’s some information for your consideration from the London Drugs’ What’s the Green Deal Team:

1. How sunscreen works: There are 2 types:

MINERAL sunscreen creates a layer of particles (zinc or titanium oxide) that deflect the sun’s rays.
Effective immediately
Does not degrade from UV exposure
Does not penetrate the skin
Also effective against UVA rays
Can leave white residue

CHEMICAL sunscreen uses compounds that absorb the sun’s rays and turn them into non-damaging wavelengths.
Easy to apply, non-whitening
Requires wait time to be effective
Chemicals can penetrate skin
Chemicals degrade when exposed to UV

2. Chemical Sunscreen Ingredients
Chemical sunscreens typically contain a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients:
oxybenzone
octinoxate
octisalate
octocrylene
homosalate
avobenzone
2
Recently, concerns have been raised about long-term safety of some of these ingredients, particularly oxybenzone (benzophenone-3 ) which, in addition to sun protection, acts as a penetration enhancer. This chemical has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cellular damage.
(Oxybenzone is present in over 500 other North American cosmetic items.)  1

Watch the Spray!
Spray sunscreens have increased in popularity, but some experts don’t recommend them, because of the hazard of inhaling chemicals and particles. 2

3.Look for Broad Spectrum Protection
The suns rays come in different lengths, and it’s a good idea to protect against them all.
UVA radiation
Goes deeper into the skin (dermis).
Causes premature aging and wrinkles.
Causes tanning.
UVB radiation
Affects the skin’s surface (epidermis).
Contributes most to burning of skin.
Damages your eyes. 5

4. Is Higher SPF Better?
People assume that they get twice as much protection from SPF 100 sunscreen as from SPF 50. In reality, the extra protection may be negligible. Used correctly, sunscreen with SPF values in the range of 30 to 50 will offer adequate protection, even for people most sensitive to sunburn.6

UV protection does not follow a linear relationship, meaning that if you apply half of the recommended amount you get LESS than half of the labeled SPF protection.

5. Protect ecosystems and coral too – Biodegradable and Reef Safe options
Researchers have identified four common sunscreen chemicals as toxic to coral health. (oxybenzone butylparaben, octinoxate and a chemical called 4MBC)
Unfortunately, 25 to 60 million bottles worth of sunscreen chemicals wash off into coral reef areas each year. Sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide, (natural mineral ingredients), have not been found harmful to corals. 4 If you are swimming in nature, choose one of these options.

Great Green Sunscreen Options
London Drugs is pleased to offer a range of sunscreen options. Here are some choices that protect as sustainably as possible:

Aveeno Mineral & Aveeno Baby
Mineral based protection
UVA, UVB protection

Badger Sunscreens
Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Mineral Protection
Biodegradable
87% organic ingredients
UVA, UVB protection
What’s the Green Deal Featured

Boo Bamboo Natural Sunscreen
Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Oxide
UVA, UVB protection
Made in Canada

Goddess Garden
Certified organic
Non-Nano, Reef Safe, Non-GMO, Biodegradable
Vegan, Cruelty Free, Paraben and Phthalate Free
UVA, UVB protection
What’s the Green Deal Featured

Green Beaver
Non-nano zinc oxide and titanium oxide mineral protection
100% natural, biodegradable and reef friendly
Made in Canada
UVA, UVB protection
What’s the Green Deal Featured

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc
Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide
UVA, UVB protection

Trying a new sunscreen?
Test a little on a small area of skin. If you have a reaction, please bring the product back.

LEARN MORE at greendeal.ca 
Blogs, videos, articles & products to help you live a little greener.

Sources:

Source: London Drugs Health Blog 2014 – http://healthblog.londondrugs.com/suncare-update-2014
Source: Environmental Working Group Sunscreen Report 2017 – http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/executive-summary/#.WW_md4qQxE5
ENvironmental Working Group – Do the Chemicals in your sunscreen damage fragile coral reefs? – http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2016/07/do-chemicals-your-sunscreen-damage-fragile-coral-reefs#.WW_vvIqQxE4
US National Park Service Bulletin – Protect Yourself, Protect the Reef! – https://cdhc.noaa.gov/_docs/Site%20Bulletin_Sunscreen_final.pdf
Canadian Skin Cancer Foundtion -http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/sun-screen.html
Environmental Working Group – What’s wrong with high SPF? – http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/whats-wrong-with-high-spf/#.WW_054qQxE4

One Response to “5 Things You Need to Know About Greener Sunscreen.”

  1. Janice

    Thanks for this article. It’s very helpful in figuring out the differences between mineral and chemical sunscreen. I am more informed now.



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