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:
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
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.


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

August 8th, 2014

What is B Corporation Certification?

B Corp Certification

If you scan the shelves for Certified Organic, Fair Trade, Kosher, Cruelty-Free or other certifications, you’ll soon start seeing a new label on the block.
Certified B Corporation is an up-and-coming standard that goes beyond the qualities of the product you hold in your hand and sets a standard for the behaviour of the company itself.
B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
To qualify, companies must complete the rigorous B Impact Assessment and earn a reviewed minimum score of 80 out of 200 points. This assessment measures everything from environmental practices and waste to labour standards and community practices. This assessment is reviewed, documentation may be required, and re-certification is required every 2 years.
There are now over 1000 B Corps in 30+ countries around the world, and the movement is growing.
Some of the great Green Deal products made by B Corps that you’ll find on London Drugs’ shelves include Method, Badger, Seventh Generation, Lunapads, Salt Spring Coffee, Ethical Bean Coffee, Manitoba Harvest, Preserve and Traditional Medicinals.
B Corporation Certification has been called “The highest standard for socially responsible business”, but their ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ says it best:
“We envision an new sector of the economy which harnesses the power of private enterprise to create public benefit…” You can read the rest on the B Corp website.
So if you want to buy from a company that’s working to make a difference, look for the B.  It’s one corporate certification that gets an ‘A’ from the Green Deal team.


June 21st, 2013

It’s time for green beach days and guilt-free picnics.


Sustainable living doesn’t mean you have to give up on the summer fun. If you’re throwing a beach party and don’t want to worry about washing dishes, World Centric has a line of almost-guilt-free disposable dinnerware. The plates and bowls are made from wheat straw fiber instead of trees. Their cups are made from paper and 100% bio-based lining instead of petroleum-based plastic. World Centric cutlery is made from TPLA, consisting of 70% non-GMO corn and 30% talc. All of their products conform to the ASTM D-6400 standard of biodegradability, meaning they break down in commercial composters in 3-6 months. (Should be no problem for municipal systems like those used by Vancouver’s Green Bin program) If you’re a real green picnic geek, you can learn more on the World Centric website.

recycled-platesIf throwing away your plate still seems evil, try the reusable plates and bowls from Preserve. Made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic, (including take-out containers) these green beauties are BPA-free and dishwasher safe. Preserve will even take them back and recycle therm AGAIN when you are done.

green-sunscreensAs you are basking in your righteous green-ness, don’t forget to keep the warming sun at bay with sunscreen alternatives by Green Beaver and Badger. Green Beaver Sunscreen is certified organic, biodegradable and gluten-free. The Badger formula is non-nano, biodegradable and water resistant.

Barbecue and beach season await, so get out there and enjoy the world. And leave a smaller footprint at the same time.

June 27th, 2011

Sunscreen – What’s the Green Deal on not turning pink?

Well, it’s officially time to write the sunscreen blog, even though (in Vancouver anyway) the golden orb has been a bit of a no-show so far. London Drugs has a huge variety of sunscreen choices, and talking to a Beauty Advisor will get you way more info than can be listed here. But I wanted to feature a few alternative options to consider if living a little greener is one of your summer priorities.

What are Mineral Sunscreens and why are they becoming more popular?
Most sunscreens work by being absorbed into the skin, where their chemicals then absorb UVA and UVB rays. Mineral sunscreens don’t get absorbed the same way. They stay on the skin’s surface, creating a barrier (of zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide) to reflect the sun’s rays. Some people prefer the idea of surface protection, and others may find mineral formulas less irritating to sensitive skin. An additional benefit is that mineral sunscreens work as soon as you apply them – you don’t have to wait for them to soak in.

Nature’s Gate Mineral Kids SPF 20
Pediatrician tested and specially developed for children’s sensitive skin, this fragrance-free formula offers UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection. It’s also paraben free. All the ingredients are listed on their website, which we at What’s the Green Deal always appreciate.
Badger SPF 30 Lightly Scented and Unscented
These formulas have 18.5% uncoated, non-nano zinc oxide as their active ingredient. Totally natural and chemical-free, the Badger website says they are naturally water resistant, safe for children of all ages and block both UVA and UVB rays. Extra Green Deal points for their 50% post-consumer-recycled #2 plastic packaging as well.
Burts Bees Sunscreen with Hemp Seed Oil
The Burts Bees website calls this a ‘chemical-free’ sunscreen, as its active ingredient, titanium dioxide, occurs naturally as the mineral rutile. Like all BB products, it’s also paraben-free and petrochemical free.
Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport 30 Biodegradable
It’s important to note that just because chemical sunscreens get absorbed, that doesn’t mean they are bad. And some, like this biodegradable Hawaiian Tropic product, can be considerably better for sensitive environments. When chemicals from regular sunscreen wash off into the ocean, they may interact with marine creatures, including coral reefs. For this reason, Mexico allows only biodegradable sunscreen. Sport 30 comes in a recyclable bottle with a nifty interlocking 60ml size, which unfortunately uses more plastic in its manufacture. But if you refill the smaller bottle, at least it’s convenient and reusable. Fish may thank you.

But none of this matters if you don’t apply it enough.
Almost all research drives this point home. Most of us apply our sunscreen too little, too late and forget to reapply after 2 hours. (Yes, every 2 hours!) So whether you choose mineral, biodegradable or chemical sunscreen, keep slapping it on. Or you will be the real RED deal.

June 5th, 2010

KINeSYS continues to B even better and greener.

When I interviewed KINeSYS spokesman Rob Takeuchi for the Green Deal blog last year, I was impressed with their commitment to local sourcing and lowering their carbon footprint. For 2010 they’re turning it up a notch further.

KINeSYS has launched two new products with London Drugs this year – both are SPF 50 sprays – both are fragrance-free and one is a product designed specifically for kids, called Funscreen.
“Funscreen is our first formulation to replace one of the basic carriers with a plant derived alternative called Dodecane.” says Rob. “In the long run, plant-derived alternatives may be more sustainable so we feel it is something worth investigating now.”

KINeSYS has also achieved official B Corporation certification. B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. They must first meet comprehensive and transparent social and environmental performance standards. (find out more at www.bcorporation.net).
Rob is naturally excited.
“I think companies at the forefront of a movement realize fairly quickly that nothing happens in a vacuum and certainly there is strength in numbers.” he says. “Thankfully, there are an increasing number of companies who share this view and based on some of the feedback we have had, many of our customers would agree!”

KINeSYS is featured at London Drugs check-outs this June, and look for it in the sunscreen section and online at londondrugs.com. You’ll be protecting more than your skin.

July 11th, 2009

What’s behind the green screen at KINeSYS Performance Sunscreen?

As part of my research for What’s the Green Deal, I’m often asked to dig deeper into the green claims of certain products. It’s a rare pleasure when the in-depth story on a company reveals an even greener picture. Such was the case when I interviewed Rob Takeuchi, spokesman for KINeSYS sunscreen.
On their web site, KINeSYS describes a few key eco-friendly advantages under a banner they call ‘EarthKind™’. These include:

This is pretty good, but the story gets even better.
Let’s start with the bottles. Not only can you drop them right in the recycling box, they are actually manufactured right here in BC. (Almost unheard-of in this era of global outsourcing) The labels and cardboard shipping cartons are also manufactured locally and printed with vegetable-based inks, while the non-pressurized sprayer units (specially designed to handle the small sunscreen molecules) are made in the US, sourced through a Canadian firm. This localized supply-chain means way less carbon emissions from shipping, better support for our regional economy, improved green transparency and greater quality control.
KINeSYS purchases energy for its warehouse and head office through Bullfrog Power, a Canadian firm that adds electricity from wind generation and low-impact hydro to the grid for every kWh purchased by its customers. Last Earth Day, KINeSYS also went the extra step to purchase carbon offsets for employees’ personal vehicles, (through Offsetters, a local Vancouver company) and now claims to be the only carbon-neutral sunscreen company in the world.
So does the stuff work? KINeSYS started selling sunscreen in 1994 to performance athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria. Their website features testimonials from doctors and sun-sensitive individuals, and they adhere strictly to the standards set out by Health Canada. This is important to note, says Rob, as some retailers are importing ‘natural’ sunscreen products that do not have a Canadian DIN (Drug Identification Number). “Sunscreen is a drug product. If you see sunscreens without a DIN number, they may not have been tested to Canadian standards.” Says Takeuchi. “The other big implications of not submitting products for review is that they could contain ingredients not properly disclosed … or not deemed appropriate (for reasons of safety or efficacy) by Health Canada. And that’s not safe, when you’re dealing with protecting your skin from the sun.”
This all may sound like quite a lot of green effort, but apparently, it’s still not enough.
“London Drugs has always supported our efforts to reduce packaging and be more green at the retail level, so we’re very happy to be part of What’s the Green Deal. But at KINeSYS we’ll always be trying to do better. For instance, right now we’re looking at finding a more eco-friendly tape for our cartons.”
A small thing? Perhaps. But it shows their green cred is more than skin-deep.