Skincare Chemicals and Corals – A Cause of Concern?

Our obsession of skincare and its products is inevitably eternal, but so are its impacts. The environmentally-derogatory effect that virtually unlimited skincare products such as sunscreens have, cannot be compensated for by nature’s limited lifespan.

When we go to the beach or on vacation, for example, practically everyone applies sunscreen to their body. It’s possible that the sunscreen you use won’t stay on your skin. Sunscreen can wash off and into our waterways when we swim or shower. Corals and the fragile marine environment are harmed by sunscreens and other cosmetics. Physical (mineral) and chemical sunscreens are the two most common forms. Mineral sunscreens work by creating a physical barrier on top of your skin that reflects the sun’s rays away from your body. On the other hand, chemical sunscreens contain synthetic substances that absorb UV rays before it reaches your skin. While applying sunscreen before going to the beach can shield us from the hazards of the sun, it can have the opposite effect when it comes to life under water.

A research paper from Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands revealed the devastating impact that sunscreens have on coral life. The team examined the effect of Benzophenone and Oxybenzone (ingredients in sunscreens) on coral forms as well. It was proved that these chemicals, use in over 3,500 sun-care products affects the DNA of coral life, and results in an increase in the number of coral deformities and abnormalities.

It was further reported by the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the chemicals in sunscreens can induce defects in young mussels, and decrease the fertility of fish.

The next time you decide to go to the beach or visit a national park, make sure to keep the following points in mind:

  1. Avoid aerosols.
  2. Try not to visit beaches, etc. between 10 AM and 2 PM.
  3. Oxybenzone, Benzophenone-1, Benzophenone-8, OD-PABA, 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor, 3-Benzylidene camphor, Octinoxate, and Octocrylene are all dangerous substances to avoid.
  4. Look for Protect Land + Sea Certification on items.

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