Your skincare products may be hurting the ocean

This is a 1 Million Women community guest post. The research undertaken and opinions expressed by the guest writer/blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone.

We caught up with Joel and Anita at Sun & Earth to talk about the issues with many conventional skincare products, and the possible alternatives.

"As we see it the natural world is a complex super-organism with many interrelated systems, greater than the sum of its individual parts," Joel and Anita said. "The oceans play a unique role in the intricate ecosystem; they are the lungs that filter the air, the PF balancers, the home and food source to many species in the web of life, the great weather makers, the planetary filtration system, the creators and destroyers of rocks and soils."

"Today the oceans face significant environmental challenges, from changing climates and coral bleaching to pollution, and we believe that humans play a role in this."

"Recent studies published in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology suggest that chemicals used in conventional sunscreens may be leading causes for coral bleaching."

According o the U.S National Park Service, somewhere between 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen enter coral reef areas around the world each year – that's a lot of sunscreen considering that all it takes is a water droplet size of sunscreen placed within an Olympic-sized pool to cause toxic effects.

And not all sunscreens are made equal. Researchers have found that a common UV-filtering organic compound called oxybenzone used in sunscreen is toxic to corals.

Luckily, there are ocean-safe alternatives.

"zinc oxide provides a physical barrier from the sun for the skin and also serves as a skin healer and acne treatment, organic cacao butter softens the zinc and nourishes the skin, and organic coconut oil has natural SPF and is wonderful for the skin."

“We are powerful. Our everyday choices make the changes we want to see in the world. Every time we say "Yes" to natural, handmade, locally-made products we say "No" to unnatural, factory made, mega corporations.”
- Joel and Anita, Sun & Earth

In their research around consumer habits, Joel and Anita found that women are the primary purchasers of skin care products.

"By choosing natural skin care products, women can make a significant change in the market setting an example to their sisters, mothers, brothers, fathers, and children."

"We have hope that through people changing old patterns of behaviour and living more sustainable lives that the oceans will have a chance to rebuild, adapt and sustain the ecosystem in the future."

Check out the Sun & Earth website for more.

READ THIS NEXT: Here are 6 more tips for reducing your impact on ocean life and coral reefs

Images: Sun & Earth and Pixabay

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