UV radiation damages skin in serious ways and contributes to the elevated frequency of skin cancer throughout North America (9,500 people are diagnosed with it every day in the U.S. alone). Though sunscreens made from inorganic chemicals are effective at protecting skin against UV rays, they come with a steep price for local ecosystems and the natural world.
On the bright side, ongoing research is showing that all-natural seaweed products can provide an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic sunblock. Here’s how environmentally friendly sunscreen can block harmful UV rays without doing damage to the planet.
Protecting the Earth and Ourselves
Sunscreen made from synthetic chemicals may appear harmless on the surface, but it does damage beyond our sphere of awareness. There’s no direct harm to our skin when it’s applied, and using the artificial sunblock with the right SPF does a great job of protecting your skin from UV ray damage. Yet what happens to the sunscreen after it has served its purpose? When we go for a swim, bathe or wash the lotion off our skin, these synthetic chemicals enter the water table and begin to wreak havoc.
Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, and other harmful chemicals impair marine life in streams, rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Mussels exposed to these synthetic chemicals often produce offspring with birth defects. Fish experience drastic changes and defects in their reproductive systems. Even dolphins retain these harmful chemicals in their tissue and pass them on to the next generation.
One of the most vulnerable populations to these chemicals (with the most devastating ripple effect) are coral reefs. The chemicals found in synthetic sunscreen can damage their DNA and bleach their exteriors, causing massive die offs. As coral reefs disappear, over 9 million species lose their homes, and the world loses a natural source of carbon fixation (which retains CO2 and prevents it from entering the atmosphere).
Environmentally-friendly sunscreens are designed to prevent this pollution. They use compounds like tocopherol and palythine to prevent skin cell damage and absorb UV radiation. That way, when traces of the sunblock enter the water table, it dissolves without doing harm in the process.
Protecting Our Skin
Seaweed’s ability to protect skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation stems from two key compounds: tocopherol and palythine.
Exposure to UV radiation can create free radicals that lead to cellular damage. Many seaweed species have an organic compound called tocopherol, which is a specific form of vitamin E that helps them to fight against the destruction caused by free radicals.
In eco-friendly sunblock, this compound helps people to supply their skin with a rich supply of vitamin E, helping their cells to minimize the potential free-radical damage and foster healthier skin. It’s this ingredient that makes seaweed extract cosmetics and eco-friendly sunscreens amazing for your skin health.
As far as repelling the harmful effects of UV irradiation, research is showing that a mycosporine-like amino acid (MAA) called palythine is making waves. Even a very small amount of palythine can absorb harmful solar rays and protect against UV radiation damage. Found in various seaweed species, this MAA is eco-compatible and non-toxic, making it perfect for environmentally friendly sunscreen.
Are you ready to embrace environmentally friendly sunscreen in your product lines? Reach out to your Acadian SeaPlus™ team and let’s discuss your options!