Bad for Humans, Bad for the Oceans
Many holiday destinations attract us for their white sandy beaches, beautiful clear blue waters and stunning coral reef formations. With thousands of visitors flocking to beaches year round to soak up the sun and explore the underwater world by snorkeling and scuba diving, it is important that we protect this very important and fragile marine environment.
One way to do this is to take a look at the sunscreens we are using when venturing out into the hot tropical sun and cool inviting waters as there is more and more evidence to prove that harmful chemicals in our favourite products are damaging and killing the beautiful vibrant corals around the world. And not only are they harmful to the marine environment, they are harmful to humans too.
Four culprits that have been found to bleach coral reefs are benzophenones, parabens, cinnamates and camphor derivatives, found in most major sunscreens. Ingredients to look out for and avoid are Oxybenzone and Dioxybenzone which are benzphenone derivatives used to block dangerous UV rays. Oxybenzones are also believed to disrupt hormones in the body which can have a detrimental affect on the endocrine system and in turn can lead to other health issues.
Parabens, another worrying ingredient in many products are used as chemical preservatives and have been identified as estrogenic which mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone estrogen. Exposure to external estrogens have been linked to breast cancer and many products now claim to be “Paraben Free” as more and more people become aware of the dangers associated with them.
When choosing a sunscreen always take a look at the ingredient list and choose a product which uses natural ingredients and is 100% biodegradable. You can quite easily make your own sunscreen and there are many recipes online to choose from. One of the easiest, cheapest and most effective I use is to combine zinc oxide powder with coconut oil. Coconut oil has a SPF of 2-8 and also has many other health benefits.
Other naturally occurring oils with SPFs that can be used as an alternative include:-
Carrot Seed Oil – SPF 38-40
Raspberry Seed Oil – SPF 28-50
Wheatgerm Oil – SPF 20
Avocado Oil – SPF 4-15
Olive Oil – SPF 2-8
Macadamia Nut Oil – SPF 6
Almond Oil – SPF 5
Shea Butter – SPF 3-6
Jojaba Oil – SPF 4
We need the planet more than the planet needs us so read the labels and choose wisely before you next venture out into the hot summer sun.
Lynn Robinson is originally from Yorkshire, England and has lived in the Turks & Caicos Islands since 2002 working as a scuba diving instructor and professional mermaid, entertaining children on the Undersea Explorer.
Passionate about the environment she actively encourages others to change the way they live by being conscious about single use plastics. She regularly takes part in island clean-ups along with cleaning up litter while out walking with her two island dogs, Frolic and Micky.
Lynn’s other passion is running, she has completed various marathons, ultra marathons, Iron Man Texas and a multi day stage race in Northern Spain. She is a strict healthy vegan, not just for the animals but for the planet and for the people, and to assist in sports performance and quicker recovery times.
I met Lynn when I stayed with her via Airbnb, along with her dogs, chickens and the foster rescue puppies she cares for before they are adopted overseas via Potcake Place. Lynn has inspired me to reduce my use of plastics and to eat a healthier, plant based diet. Lynn’s positive impact on the environment, boundless energy, clear skin and sparkly eyes are testament to the benefits of her lifestyle.
You can follow her journey on https://www.instagram.com/scubalynntci/