What is Biodegradable Sunscreen? Everything You Need to Know about this Reef-Safe Alternative

What is Biodegradable Sunscreen? Everything You Need to Know about this Reef-Safe Alternative

Biodegradable sunscreen is a sunblock formula that degrades naturally and does not include chemicals potentially harmful to the environment.

In one study on aquatic life, researchers found that a small amount of oxybenzone-containing sunscreen might be enough to break down coral. This can cause a coral reef to lose its nourishment, bleach, and often die.

coral reefs

In contrast, biodegradable sunscreens are said to be made without these substances. Hence, they ultimately become a safe option for the environment. 

While researchers disagree on the specific effects of natural sunscreens, biodegradable sunscreens are popular among customers seeking to reduce their overall impact on marine life.

This article explains what is biodegradable sunscreen, how these products are environmentally friendly, and if they are as effective as standard sunscreens.

It also offers a list of biodegradable sunscreen manufacturers and shopping tips.

What effect do Natural Sunscreens have on the Marine Ecosystem?

Between 4,000 and 6,000 tons of sunscreen wash off holiday swimmers yearly.

These sunscreens, oils, and sunblock are among the most destructive to the world’s natural underwater ecosystems.

As we swim, these oils fall off and settle on coral reefs and other marine life in significant amounts. They act like an oil slick in the water, causing damage to delicate ecosystems.

What effect do Natural Sunscreens have on the Marine Ecosystem?

The reefs are being suffocated, and sunscreens are one of the primary causes of coral bleaching.

Furthermore, they promote viral growth, and oxybenzone-containing sunscreens have been shown to harm fish.

Everyday sunscreen ingredients cause viral infection in coral while covering it with oils and sludge.

Due to human pressures, up to 25% of the world’s coral reefs are in imminent danger of collapse, with another 25% in longer-term threat.

What is a Biodegradable Sunscreen?

Biodegradable sunscreen is typically a sunblock that is healthy for the environment and does not include the harmful components that destroy marine life.

These sunscreens are biodegradable, which means they disintegrate naturally in the atmosphere. Furthermore, they are eco-friendly, meaning they cause the most minor environmental damage.

Biodegradable sunscreen offers UV rays protection without the bulk of the chemical ingredients found in regular sunscreens.

It is sometimes called “reef-safe sunscreen” since it won’t damage plant or animal life when it washes off your skin in the water.

How can I know Whether my Sunscreen is Biodegradable?

The components of biodegradable sunscreens vary depending on the manufacturer. However, they are free of the chemical ingredients associated with environmental harm. These chemicals are

what is biodegradable sunscreen
  • PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) which is an amino acid
  • Oxybenzone octinoxate
  • Benzylidene (4-methyl)
  • Butylparaben Camphor

These chemicals are not utilized in biodegradable sunscreens since they may have a broad range of effects on plants and animals.

How Does Biodegradable Sunscreen Work?

Now that you know what is biodegradable sunscreen let’s see how it works. Sunscreens are typically chemical or physical, or a combination of the two.

Physical sunscreen is generally regarded as biodegradable. They protect your skin from the sun’s rays.

They include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as active ingredients, considered safer for marine life.

Biodegradable sunscreens decompose over time and do not include chemicals harmful to coral reefs

Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, absorb the sun’s rays like a sponge, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

At least one of the following active compounds is present: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. Several studies have shown that oxybenzone and octinoxate are harmful to coral reefs.

What are the Advantages of Biodegradable Sunscreen?

If you’ve been using sunscreen without much consideration, why should you try to identify and use ecologically friendly options?

The most significant benefit is that you are helping to protect the delicate habitat in which coral reefs live.

While the challenge of protecting the seas is tough, many people making little adjustments may have a significant influence.

Coral reefs throughout the globe are disappearing at an alarming pace. Research revealed that approximately half of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef perished between 2016 and 2018.

While numerous things contribute to this, one of the key culprits is water contamination. Purchasing biodegradable sunscreen can help you to avoid water contamination.

Should People with Sunscreen Allergies Consider Biodegradable Sunscreen?

A dermatologist may prescribe biodegradable sunscreen if a person is allergic or has sensitive skin to regular sunscreen.

However, there are other choices for persons with allergies. Because many individuals are susceptible to PABA, selecting a PABA-free sunscreen may be adequate for everyday use.

Some individuals may find it beneficial to have a skin patch test conducted by a dermatologist to find the exact sunscreen chemical they are allergic to.

Tips Before Buying a Biodegradable Sunscreen

A biodegradable sunscreen can be found easily at an organic food shop. However, when buying sunscreen at a pharmacy, search for mineral rather than chemical compositions.

 Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are two environmentally friendly ingredients. As mentioned earlier, examine the product label to ensure no hazardous components are present.

Look for brands with the words “biodegradable,” “reef-safe,” or “coral-safe.” Sunscreens labeled “PABA-free” are not necessarily the same as biodegradable sunscreens since they may include components that are not environmentally friendly. Biodegradable sunscreens are generally available at any location.

Top Biodegradable Sunscreen Brands

There are various brands which are producing biodegradable sunscreens. With increasing consumer knowledge regarding the environmental effects of sunscreens, these options are automatically preferred. Some of these options

Caribbean Sol 

This Orlando-based firm has produced all-natural sunscreen products for over a decade. Caribbean Sol’s product portfolio comprises a variety of biodegradable sunscreen creams, sprays, and skin-healing solutions. 

Sun Bum

Sun Bum has been providing ecologically friendly sunscreen products since 2010. Their Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion is one of their best-selling goods, but they also manufacture hair, lip, and garment products.

Natural Elements

Raw Elements, based in Huntington Beach, California, has offered organic sunscreen products since 2012.

They provide a variety of skin products with ecologically friendly chemicals and packaging.

Their items range from face and body sunscreens to lip balms and skin tonics. One of their best-selling items is their Face & Body SPF 30 lotion, which comes in tin and tube packaging.

Final Thoughts,what is biodegradable sunscreen

While everyday sunscreen may protect you from dangerous UV rays, its chemicals may wash off your skin to combine with ocean water and endanger marine and plant life.

On the other hand, biodegradable sunscreen does not contain these toxic compounds and hence does not pose these hazards.

Now you know what is biodegradable sunscreen, Look for the phrase “biodegradable” on product labels. Choose sunscreens that only include components like zinc oxide and titanium oxide to ensure your sunscreen is environmentally friendly.

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