According to a new article in Women’s Health magazine, some common ingredients found in chemical sunscreens could be not only dangerous to your skin, but also to the bodies of water you’re swimming in.
“Twenty thousand tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers, divers, and surfers into the oceans every year, eventually affecting marine life, according to a 2008 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives,” says the article.
The offending chemicals? Octinoxate, oxybenzone, parabens, or camphor derivatives, commonly found in sunscreens, can kill hard corals, eventually disrupting the biodiversity of the ecosystems in which they live. If you want to steer clear of these chems (for coral’s sake!), Women’s Health recommends Alba’s Mineral Sunblock, a Pharmaca favorite.
Other interesting tidbits from the article:
Replace your sunblock often. While most products are made to last up to three years, if they’re baking in the sun or in a hot car, there’s a good chance they’ve lost some efficacy. Our estheticians often recommend replacing your sun care every year no matter what.
Certain nutrition can actually increase your natural sun protection. The article cites a study in the British Journal of Dermatology that researched the power of the antioxidant lycopene (found in fruits like watermelon and tomatoes). Women whose diet included 16 mg of lycopene every day for 12 weeks showed a reduction in the damage created by UVA and UVB rays. So keep eating your fruits and veggies–and keep slathering on that good sunblock.