Tag Archives: Sun

Certain Sunscreens May Harm Corals

Coral reefs

You’re finally going on your Hawaiian vacation. You’re going to party the week away eating kalua pork and huli huli chicken, working on your hula moves and drinking exotic cocktails from coconuts with umbrellas sticking out of them. You’re going to go snorkeling in the crystal waters of Waikiki Beach and you’re going to hit the white sands of Honolulu running. And of course, you’re going to slather on that sunscreen. Right? Well, you may want to think again.

You know that your Hawaiian vacation would not be complete without checking out those amazing coral reefs. Not only are these beauties responsible for housing 500 species of algae which provide food and sustenance to Hawaii’s vast marine life, they’re also going to keep you hangin’ 10 by creating those big Hawaiian waves. Unfortunately, when it comes to these natural wonders, your sunscreen may be doing more harm than good.

Dangers of Sunscreen to Corals
Although sunscreen may be fully beneficial to humans, it may be anything but for the coral reef. Chemicals in sunscreens that wash off the body off beach goers wreak havoc on the precious reefs, bleaching the coral, hindering its growth, and often, outright killing it. In the aim of damage control to one of Hawaii’s most profitable natural resources, Hawaiian Senator Will Espero presented a bill to congress on January 20 that would ban sunscreens with octinoxate and oxybenzone from the Hawaiian island.

Sunscreen Harms Corals
The chemical and mineral filters in sunscreen, used to block the sun’s radiation are the most damaging to the reefs. They wash off the skin of surfers, swimmers, spear fishers, and even those using the beach showers, and find their way into the ocean. Oxybenzone, concentrations have been measured at 30 times the concentration level safe for the corals. Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources says, “(These chemicals) cause deformities in coral larvae making them unable to swim, settle out, and form new coral colonies. It also increases the rate at which coral bleaching occurs. This puts coral reef health at risk, and reduces resiliency to climate change.”

Woman on a hammock

Craig Downs, researcher on stunted coral growth at Haereticua Environmental Laboratory in Virginia says that oxybenzone “kills (coral.) It turns them into zombies if it doesn’t kill them outright. It makes them sterile and you do not get coral recruitment.”

Not Just A Hawaiian Problem
Hawaiian corals are not the only ones being endangered. In fact, about 80% of all corals in the Caribbean Sea have died within the past 40 years. Although factors such as temperature anomalies, predators, pollution from cruise ships and coastal runoffs all contribute to the endangerment, the fact the approximately 14,000 tons of sunscreen has been found to wash into the world’s ocean each year is not helping matters.

The Other Side
Of course, there are two sides to every story. Sunscreen manufacturers, such as L’oreal uphold the benefits of their products and oppose the ban claiming there is not enough supporting evidence. However, Espero rallies, ” We have advocates and science on our side. Fisherman, boat owners, ocean sports enthusiasts, ocean-tour operators, and environmentalists rely on the ocean for recreation and jobs. Opponents will be out there, but supporters as well.

What Can You Do?
If your wondering how to keep these creatures safe without risking your delicate complexion, you can check out the Environmental Working Group’s guide to safe sunscreen, but be aware that they do advise, “Sunscreen should be your last resort,” and urge you to consider long sleeved shirts, Uv blocking attire, sunglasses, shade and well time jaunts into the sun to keep exposure to a minimum.

So what do you think? To screen or not to screen? Let us know where you stand!

Helping Your Skin Deal With Gravity and Free Radicals

In the book, Nature Stories, by Balachandher Krishan Guru, it reads, “Gravity is the force that attracts everything towards the center of the earth. Who or what is the cause of this force of gravity?…The best answer I can come up with is Mother Nature….Similarly, the sun shines on everyone regardless of any form of discrimination. By the way, what is the sun? It is just another part of Mother Nature.”

Ok, Guru, so it may be true that gravity and the sun are two great gifts, but, appealing to Mother Nature as a woman, why did she have to provide us with the two biggest natural components of premature aging?

Woman looking at skin
Effects of Aging on Skin
The aging of skin depends on various factor including diet, lifestyle, personal habits, and heredity. Smoking is an example of a personal habit that can produce free radicals that damage cells and cause wrinkles. Other things that cause aging? Stress, facial movement, obesity, sleep position and, of course, gravity.

Changes Occurring with age
As the skin ages, it is common to experience roughening of skin, development of lesions and benign tumors, slackening of skin and the loss of elastin tissue, increased skin transparency caused by the thinning of the epidermis, increased fragility caused by the flattening of the part of the skin where the dermis and epidermis meet, and, lastly, tendency to bruise more easily.

Changes may also occur beneath the skin. There may be a loss of fat beneath the skin in the temples, nose and eye area resulting in a sunken eyed, skeletal appearance. Bone loss, usually occurring after the age of 60, may become apparent around the chin and mouth causing the skin to pucker around the mouth. Loss of cartilage in the nose may cause the nasal tip to drip and enhance the nose’s bony structure.

Woman in the sun
Sun and Skin
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun damages the skin’s elastin, causing skin to stretch, sag, and lose its resilience. It also bruises and loses its ability to heal quickly. Sun exposure early in life may lead to damage later in life. The best ways to protect yourself from skin cancer and sun exposure are by covering up, wearing a hat, applying sunscreen, and staying out of the sun in general.

Other Changes
Secondary factors contributing to changes in skin are facial movement, gravity, and sleep. As skin elasticity decreases, gravity leads to drooping of the eyelids and eyebrows and the looseness go the skin under the jaw, chin, and earlobes. Facial movement causes lines to become more visible and may appear vertically over the root of the nose, horizontally on the forehead or as curved lines on the upper cheeks, temples and around the mouth.

The position in which you sleep may also influence the way your skin ages. Sleep creases are most commonly found not the side of the forehead, above the eyebrows to the hairline and on the middle of the cheeks. Sleeping on your back may be one way to prevent them, or stop them from becoming worse.

Bottom line: gravity and free radicals are bad news for your skin! Stay away from cigarettes, protect yourself from the sun, eat well and sleep on your back! Let us know how you resist gravity! We love to hear from you!