What is your sunscreen doing to the environment?

Using sunscreen when you stay in the sun has become a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle. Your skin must be protected from the damage the harmful UV rays can cause. But have you ever considered what your sunscreen does to the environment around you? Most of the sunscreen and skincare products contain harmful chemicals that have disastrous consequences for natural life. It accumulates in the tissue of the coral inducing bleaching; affects fertility and reproduction of fish; deforms young sea urchins and impairs growth and photosynthesis of the Green Algae. In general, it disturbs the delicate balance of sea life. Now more than ever, it is crucial to act and switch to products that are safe for the environment. Whether it is reusing the packaging for different purposes or making sure that they come from a recycled source, paying attention to unnecessary additional packaging or investing in products like biodegradable sunscreens — taking decisive steps to look after Mother Earth should be now at the centre of our consumer choices.

Many sunscreens include harmful chemicals that destroy the environment.

As for marine life and sunscreen products, what are the most common offenders with a disastrous effect on the environment? Be most wary of Oxybenzone, Benzophenone-1, Benzophenone-8, OD-PABA, 4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor, 3-Benzylidene Camphor, Nano-Titanium Dioxide, Nano-Zinc Oxide.

Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3) is one of the most common ingredients in sun care — over 3,500 products across the globe contain this harmful chemical. The compound usually affects the environment either through a wastewater effluent or, more commonly, through people swimming in the sea with sunscreen on. The damage to marine life is substantial, as it increases the probability of bleaching and DNA damage, resulting in abnormal growth and deformities of young coral that leads to significant coral reef degradation.

Benzophenone-2 is the second chemical that we need to be most aware of. Apart from being a common ingredient in sun care, it is also widely used in household cosmetics like soaps, creams and fragrances. Much like its previous “colleague”, it is highly toxic to corals. Yet, stopping using sunscreen products that contain it is not enough. Since BP-2 is not removed from most of the municipal wastewater treatment, the water containing the toxin is often released directly into the clean coastal waters of the Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean Sea.

Be responsible for your body and the environment

Remember that the plastic bottles are not the only thing that affects the environment — the pollution from sunscreen is equally damaging. It is up to every single person to protect the environment, and with conscious consumer choices, we all can contribute. Fortunately, many product alternatives are safe for the environment. The ideal option is a sunscreen that is kind to the marine life. IONIQ’s sun care series stays away from all the harmful chemicals . For more tips on how our products are safe to the environment, sign up to our newsletter below!