How is your sunscreen affecting your health and the health of the environment?

Sunscreen and You: 

Sunscreen is not just necessary in the summer time but also during winter sports like those that are popular here in Colorado. Sun exposure is most certainly associated with skin cancer, however, how to best protect yourself is up to debate. Typical sunscreens have 100s of chemicals that include hormone disrupters, allergens and potentially cancerous substances. Oxybenzone is one of the most common chemicals and widely study for it's ability to be observed into the skin and cause external and internal issues. For more information on this check out this report by the National Institute of Health A great resource is available through the environmental working group who provide a guide to safe sunscreen use. However, an easy thing to look forward is an active ingredient of zinc oxide and free of parabens and retinyl. 

Sunscreen and the Environment:

Sunscreen does not only effect your own health but it is accumulating very fast in the environment. A recent article in NPR highlights a study that shows that oxybenzone is harming our coral reefs and is found in large quantities in our oceans. 

What can you do to help?

Use only sunscreens recommend by the Environmental Working Group and the National Parks Service to protect both your own health and the health of our oceans and coral reefs. These sunscreens use zinc oxide and avoid oxybenzone. In addition, wear a hat, seek some shade and limit the excessive use of lotions that will leech into our water supply.  


What can you do?

  1. C. A. Downs, Esti Kramarsky-Winter, Roee Segal, John Fauth, Sean Knutson, Omri Bronstein, Frederic R. Ciner, Rina Jeger, Yona Lichtenfeld, Cheryl M. Woodley, Paul Pennington, Kelli Cadenas, Ariel Kushmaro, Yossi Loya. Toxicopathological Effects of the Sunscreen UV Filter, Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3), on Coral Planulae and Cultured Primary Cells and Its Environmental Contamination in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin IslandsArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2015 DOI:as