If you are like Manakai Swimwear owners Anna Lieding and Kelley Chapman you spend your free time outdoors enjoying the ocean and the mountain. It is inevitable that we feel the effects of all those rays. The battle between getting enough sun and too much sun is always at the back of our minds. Should I cover up completely? Should I use this sunscreen or that sunscreen? Should I get a little bit of a tan? Is this sunscreen okay to use for the environment? Is this sunscreen okay to use for me?
PC: Drew Sulock (Envrionmental Eyes). Olowalu, Maui.
The answer to all those questions is… It Depends. In order to get your daily dose of Vitamin D it is important to get a little bit of sun, just not enough to get burned. If you are going to be in the sun for hours upon hours it is recommended to wear UV protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses. If you decide to lather up with sunscreen there are many factors to look at before making your brand choice. Most sunscreens contain toxic chemical ingredients that have been documented by the FDA to actually raise skin cancer risk. Sunscreen has also been shown to cause damage to our coral reef ecosystems. A percentage of sunscreen will eventually come off of your body when jumping into the ocean or river, which means all those harmful chemicals are now also affecting those aquatic plants and animals. Let’s make great buying choices that protect our bodies and the bodies of everything around us.
Because there are a lot of sunscreens on the market with quite complicated ingredients, below are a couple of lists to help you make those conscious choices.
The Naughty List:
- Spray sunscreens that are laden with harmful chemicals and are extra damaging because they can be inhaled
- SPF values above 50 (the FDA says above SPF 50 is a marketing ploy)
- Common Chemical/Toxic Ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, octinoxate, methylisothiazolinone (MI), vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)
Even commercially available natural sunscreens can contain toxic ingredients! A great method: if you have never heard of the ingredient, or a web search produces an even more confusing explanation, don’t buy it. Here is a list of safe sunscreens (see a more comprehensive list here)
The Nice List:
- Badger All Natural Sunscreens (Reef Safe)
- Raw Elements ECO Formula
- DO Naturals Mineral Sunscreen
- True Natural
- Mexitan Sunscreen Lotions
- Poofy Supernaturals
Several studies have found that sunscreen is harmful to the reefs, in fact 10% of our reefs are threatened by chemicals found in sunscreen.
Not Reef Safe:
- -Methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC)
Another option to consider is homemade sunscreen. Manakai Swimwear co-owner Anna Lieding has made her own sunscreen several times with great success. This zinc-based sunscreen will go on white, is water resistant due to the beeswax, and has a beautiful lavender smell. Below is her recipe list.
Anna’s Homemade Sunscreen:
- Natural Beeswax (for waterproofing)
- Coconut Oil (SPF 4-6)
- Shea or Mango Butter (SPF 4-6)
- Zinc Oxide (SPF varies depending on amount used, use non-nano particle size, be careful not to inhale)
- Vitamin E Oil
- Lavendar Oil (SPF 6 with skin soothing benefits)
And don’t forget about your after-sun skin care! Many personal skin care lotions are made with the same chemicals as those nasty sunscreens. Be wise when choosing your moisturizer and go all natural when possible. Coconut oil is not only a great natural sun protector, but also great for moisturizing. For an after sun treat, check out our featured skin care product, Coconut Information Skin Serum. Maui Made, all organic, cold pressed, and never heated. Make sure to hand wash your Manakai Swimwear Bikini in mild detergent and hang dry to keep it looking beautiful and new.
Be Safe And Enjoy the Sun.