Many nations with rich ecological landscapes are turning to eco-tourism as a means to support environmental and economic prosperity, with coral reefs being one of the leading tourist attractions. “One estimate places the total global value of coral reef based recreation and tourism at 9.6 billion dollars of their total global net benefit.”
Sadly, the same tourists who value these biodiversity hotspots may be unknowingly bringing harm to them by using sunscreens that contain a chemical ingredient called oxybenzone. This chemical has been found to contribute to coral bleaching, a process which occurs when coral polyps expel the symbiotic algae that they host. These algae, called zooxanthellae, are what allow corals to utilize the sun’s energy by means of photosynthesis, provide them with food energy, and also give corals their beautiful colors that we all love so much!
When we lather on sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and then enter the ocean, swimming out to explore it’s beautiful corals, those same corals also become lathered in oxybenzone. According to the National Park Service, “4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen enters reef areas annually.” That’s a whole lot of harmful chemicals. Corals that come into contact with oxybenzone (which has a very high absorbtion rate) become at risk for developing the virus that causes them to bleach. And since everything we put on our skin can also be absorbed by our bodies, in many cases, these chemically packed sunscreens are also promoting the growth of skin cancer and free radical production in our bodies. This is scary stuff !
Here’s the good news...Just Skin Food offers a Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Natural and Organic Sunscreen containing non-nano partical zinc oxide instead of oxybenzone. Non-nano zinc oxide is not micronized, so it is not easily absorbed into the body. Instead, it lays on the skin as a protectant .... and because our ingredients are all natural and organic, they are also eco and reef friendly ! When I recently conducted Marine Protected Area management fieldwork in South Caicos, I used Just Skin Food’s sunscreen to protect myself, as well as the ecology of the environment ... definitely a win-win situation!
More good news : in Hawaii, state senator Will Espero is currently fighting for a bill that would ban the sale and use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone in marine-life conservation districts. Passing such a bill would be a tremendous step toward helping to protect local reefs and ensuring the future of local tourism and the fishing industry. While the use of chemically loaded sunscreens is not the only issue contributing to coral bleaching, it is certainly an undeniable factor, and something that we, as forward thinking individuals, can help to control. When we care about our environment, we take care with our choices.
Will you choose wisely?
When doing this: Use this:
- - written by Serena Iacoviello
- - edited by Lisa :D
With summer coming around, it’s worthwhile to familiarize yourself with the recent FDA changes to sunscreen labeling so you can understand the product’s claims and buy a sunscreen that fits your needs.
Most important look for a Sunscreen that is Broad Spectrum which protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
FDA's label ruling -
1. Broad Spectrum designation: Sunscreens can be labeled with “Broad Spectrum SPF [value]” as long as it passes the FDA’s broad spectrum test that determines how well it protects against UVA and UVB rays. Just Skin Food's sunscreen is Broad Spectrum SPF30 and it is a superior Broad Spectrum UV protection. We use the highest allowable amount of non-nano zinc oxide.
2. Use claims: Only Broad Spectrum sunscreens with an SPF value of 15 or higher can “claim to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging if used as directed with other sun protection measures.” We claim that on our new labels now. Our Sunscreen was lab tested according to FDA's SPF tests and we are SPF30.
Lets take a little quiz and see if you can answer these...
•Is SPF 45 sunscreen three times stronger than SPF 15 sunscreen? Does it last three times longer? • Do sunscreens provide better UVA protection than UVB protection? • What works better, sunscreens or sunblocks? • Do "broad-spectrum" sunscreens protect against all UV rays?
If you're not certain of the answers, you are not alone. Recent research shows that people who buy sunscreens aren't sure exactly what protection they need, and not sure of the technical terms on labels.
“A survey of 235 individuals who bought sunscreen found they did not know the difference between UVA and UVB or between SPF and UVA”. Most believed that higher SPF ratings meant stronger UV protection and the concept of "broad-spectrum" protection confused them further.
So here is "The Lingo"
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is used to estimate the amount of UV radiation it normally takes to sunburn one’s skin with protective sunscreen. Bet you didn’t know that “A” in UVA stands for ‘Aging’ and “B” in UVB stands for ‘Burning’. We sure never knew years ago, most don’t think about it.
So in order to determine the SPF needed use this formula to figure out the appropriate SPF - “SPF Number x Time to Burn without Protection = Time to Burn with Protection”. For example: SPF 15 x 10 minutes = 150 minutes of protection
There are two types of protective products – Sunblock and Sunscreen.
Sunblocks are formulated to shield against UVB rays, while sunscreens protect against UVA. In order to fully protect your skin, choose a broad-spectrum protection formulated sunscreen that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
So what does Broad-spectrum protection really mean? The phrase indicates that a product shields against UVA as well as UVB. Most broad-spectrum sunscreens and sunblocks with an SPF of 15 or higher do a good job against UVB and short UVA rays; if they also contain zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide, they are effective against the entire UVA spectrum.
Just Skin Food is a Broad Spectrum SPF30 protector allowing you to have both protection against UVA and UVB. Our active ingredient is Zinc Oxide (non-nano) and it is a superior Broad Spectrum since we use the highest allowable zinc oxide as per the FDA.
Did you know that SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB. While SPF 30 blocks only 4% more UVB at 97%. SPF 30 or higher may be advisable for sun-sensitive individuals, skin cancer patients, and people at high risk of developing skin cancer. They also allow some margin for error if too little sunscreen is applied. So choosing an SPF30 is good in case you feel you are not applying it evenly or even enough. But SPF15 will just be as effective.
Anything higher then an SPF30 does not mean higher sunblock. The higher the SPF possibly allows you to apply it less times or go longer without reapplying but does not mean extra protection. Now the FDA tells everyone to reapply at least every two hours or less regardless of SPF value. Why? Because there is no such thing as full protection. You sweat and swim and therefore you need to reapply- simple. If you can not constantly reapply you must wear sun-protective gear and both is advisable.
The Skin Cancer Foundation considers sunscreens or sunblocks as one part of a comprehensive sun protection program, along with sun-protective clothing, sunglasses, shade, and sun avoidance from 10A.M. to 2PM.
For more information on prevention and early detection of skin cancer, call the Skin Cancer Foundation at 1-800-SKIN-490.
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