6 Healthy Ways To Protect Your Skin Without Destroying Ocean Life

By Danielle Winston

Mindful suncare is an essential part of leading a healthy lifestyle. You want to stay protected from sun year round; since too much exposure to ultraviolet rays leads to premature aging and skin cancer. But the planet’s wellbeing also matters... Did you know each year about 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen washes off skin, into the oceans? And those chemicals enter the coral reef areas, causing precious ocean life to be at risk. So what can you do about sunscreen and coral reefs, while maintaining skin wellness? Begin by becoming aware of exactly what you are putting on your skin. 


Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid 

Ocean and Reef Safe Sun Screen

Sunscreen labels read like a Latin encyclopedia. Zero in on “active ingredients.” Look for physical vs chemical sunscreen made from minerals; choose healthy, ocean safe sun protection. Be on the lookout for these potentially harmful ingredients.

According to Dermatologist, Dr. Keira Barr, author of the book, “The Skin Whisperer,” avoid this “endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC),” potentially dangerous because its, “molecular weight is small enough to pass through human skin and placenta barriers, use of oxybenzone during pregnancy raises health concerns for the unborn child.” 

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics warns this chemical has “been detected in human urine, blood and breast milk,” and is unsafe because it “mimics estrogen and can disrupt thyroid function.” Harmful to the planet too: a study about sunscreen and coral reefs, performed in Israel, (Ben-Gurion University) showed oxybenzone caused coral larval to grow deformed. And even a teensy amount was dangerous enough to cause coral bleaching. The study was instrumental in Hawaii’s choice to ban the use of Oxybenzone, and Octinoxate, also shown to threaten sea life.  


Good For You and the Planet Ingredients  

Reef safe Sun Screen

Reach for mineral-based, physical vs chemical sunscreens, deemed safe by the FDA. Always reapply every 90-120 minutes (including tinted SPFs and BB creams). Dr. Barr recommends looking for, “Broad Spectrum, and an SPF 30 or above.” Sunscreens “zinc oxide and titanium dioxide,” are Dr. Barr’s personal choice. According to the EWG these ingredients are considered safe and effective. 

In the future, nature may hold less chalky answers for sun protection: it’s recently been discovered that amazing aquatic bacteria, Cyanobacterium can produce a compound called shinorine, a natural biological sunscreen with the ability to counteract UV radiation.

Antioxidants and Diet 

Antioxidant Rich Foods

Is sunscreen enough protection? Even the strongest sun blocker still lets some UV rays through that cause free radicals. So how can you get glowing skin, avoid sun damage, and stay healthy? Enter antioxidants: a University Of Illinois study, confirms they protect skin during and after sun exposure, by targeting free radicals that lead to premature aging and skin cancer. Dr. Barr says, “eating foods rich in antioxidants and getting quality sleep which naturally boosts your body’s ability to produce its own antioxidants is an important sun safety strategy.” So be sure to integrate high level antioxidant foods into your daily diet. Some of these include: wild blueberries/blackberries, pomegranates, pinto/kidney beans, pecans, kale, and rooibos tea. 

As for antioxidant supplements, Dr. Barr recommends one found in ocean life, “Astaxanthin, a carotenoid that comes from microalgae. Considered the most potent carotenoid, 10 times as potent as beta-carotene and 100 times stronger than vitamin E in its anti-inflammatory capabilities.” Plus, according to Dr. Barr, it’s especially important for sun protection because, “it has been shown to protect against UVA-induced DNA damage.” However, Dr Barr advises “Before taking supplements, check with your physician to make sure they’re appropriate for you.” 

Topical Antioxidants Are a Must 

Topical Antioxidants for Healthy Skin

Skin wellness is part of healthy living. “Aside from eating smart,” Dr. Barr recommends, “using antioxidants topically on your skin every day to improve its tone and texture. Vitamin C plays an important role in the synthesis of collagen and elastin, and vitamin E, in preventing collagen breakdown.” So don’t forget: antioxidant protection is a critical part of year round daily skincare; prevent free radical damage naturally with our antioxidant collection

Nurture your skin with a daily dose of vitamin C, and E, with our Night Regenerative Balm. Ultra soothing under sunscreen, and after a day’s exposure too. This super-skincare-food has 21 active botanicals: prickly pear oil, containing the highest concentration of vitamin E on the market; also nutrient dense pomegranate oil with extremely high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. And to keep skin youthful, there’s collagen boosting coenzyme Q10, and Jojoba oil. 

Shop Our Night Regenerative Balm

Night regenerative balm


Cover Up 

Sun hat for sun protection

Looking good while practicing healthy habits can be tricky in the sun. To stay safe, Dr. Barr suggests, “protect your head with wide-brimmed hats (at least 3” in diameter) that shade your face, neck and ears.” And don’t stop there. Dr. Barr says, “Keep your eyes and eyelids covered (skin cancer can occur here too) with UV-filtering sunglasses.” Fabric matters too: natural fibers allow air to circulate and keep you cooler. Better for the planet too, since they don't create microplastic trash like many synthetic materials.

Sun & Dehydration

Hydration for healthy summer skin

Want to know how to get glowing skin in the scorching heat? Proper hydration is key, inside and out. So be sure to drink plenty of water... But also consider the environment: every minute an estimated million plastic bottles are purchased, and about 91% won’t be recycled. So always keep a reusable glass or BPA-free plastic bottle handy when you’re on the go. 

Quench your skin while fighting free radicals, and step up your daily moisturizing ritual with our antioxidant collection. After cleansing apply Rose Hydrating Toner with hyaluronic acid to help skin retain water and replenish moisture; meanwhile, Rooibos has an abundance of powerful antioxidants. Keep a bottle in your bag: spritz for a healthy skin pick-me-up. 

If you have congested pores and/or oily skin, try Neroli Clarifying Toner with Vitamin C + Green Tea. Along with antioxidant protection, there’s thyme, neroli, and willow bark extract, to help clear skin, replenish moisture, and encourage cell renewal. Mist face and neck, for a holistic skin-nutrition booster. 

For daywear, underneath sunscreen, apply a few drops of our Rose Nourishing serum: Rose oil is antibacterial, simultaneously hydrating while it inhibits breakouts. Crafted from antioxidant-rich oils of pomegranate, evening primrose, and rosehip, it forms a harmony of sun and moisture care. And to keep skin firm and glowing, CoQ10 initiates collagen production. 

Shop Our Antioxidant Rich Products Below
Rose Hydrating TonerNeroli Clarifying Toner


A note about sun exposure and Vitamin D 

Although too much sun is harmful, too little isn’t healthy either. Vitamin D, produced from sunlight exposure, is necessary for healthy skin; according to Dr. Barr, D “boosts the skin’s immune system and helps destroy free radicals.” So don’t act like a vampire and completely run from the sun! But be careful... don’t overexpose during peak hours between 10-2:00 pm when the sun’s rays are strongest. Then how much daylight is just enough? Check out this handy breakdown according to skin type, from the National Library of Medicine.



Dr. Keira Barr, Dermatologist, 



Author's website: https://www.daniellewinston.com/wellness-writer

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