What makes a good sunscreen?
With so many options available on the market today it can be quite daunting to choose a sunscreen that will *hopefully* do the job of protecting your loved ones in the sun; but with so many different ingredients, differing factors and often-discussed concerns over the chemicals a sunscreen may contain, the process can be a bit daunting.
You may wonder:
What is the often-discussed ‘evil’ of oxybenzone?
What is the difference between zinc oxide and titanium dioxide?
And which sunscreens are harmful to marine life?
In answer to those questions you may have:
What is Oxybenzone?
Oxybenzone is a chemical filter found commonly in 80% of commercial sun screens; its primary function is to absorb UV light. Oxybenzone is also used in nail polish and hair spray. This synthetic chemical can upset the endocrine system and pose a risk to reproductive systems; it is said to cause endometriosis in females, lower sperm count in males, and increase the risk of hormone-related cancers. Do we really want to put this on our skin?
What is considered ‘reef safe’?
Products that are generally free of oxybenzone and octinoxate are considered ‘reef-safe’ – both ingredients are banned for use in Hawaii and Key West due to the impact they cause on coral reefs, and for their contribution to coral bleaching.
Zinc oxide vs titanium dioxide.
Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are mineral based and are not absorbed into the skin, unlike oxybenzone. Both ingredients are naturally-occuring and are considered ‘reef-safe’ as they are not linked to coral bleaching.
Zinc oxide’s UV absorption rate has a broader spectrum across both ultraviolet A (UVA) long-wave and ultraviolet B (UVB) short-wave rays.
Titanium Dioxide has been classed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as being ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’, so wherever possible please choose a zinc-based sunscreen.
What do we recommend looking for when choosing a sunscreen?
The ethos behind Tribe Tropical is sun-safety and we choose to protect our family with our high-quality UPF50+ fabrics whenever we venture out in the sun – however when choosing which sunscreen to buy (to cover any exposed parts of skin) we always look for sunscreen that is:
- Free of oxybenzone
- Zinc-based wherever possible, and ideally free of artificial preservatives
- Not tested on animals
- Australian-made wherever possible
Images © Tribe Tropical
Some of our favourite Australian sunscreen brands that we choose to use are:
By covering as much skin as possible with high-quality UPF50+ fabrics the need for sunscreen is lessened thereby minimising risks to delicate marine environments.
We always recommend covering sun-exposed skin with high-quality, reef-safe sunscreen.
Tribe Tropical’s range of premium UPF50+ swimsuits and hats can help to protect skin from sun damage.
When should children get their skin checked for skin cancer?
While skin cancer is more commonly diagnosed in adults, it's important to note that it can also affect children. Teaching children about the importance of sun safety early on is a vital step in keeping them safe in the sun. Read on to find out age recommendations and precautions.
Best Swimwear for Babies and Toddlers
Spending valuable time with your children at the pool or at the beach on a hot day can be relaxing, rejuvenating and a great way to make special memories! Sadly it does come with risks however, through exposure to invisible ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Though sunscreen is a wonderful invention, it is not recommended for use on babies under six months of age, and sunscreen alone is not sufficient for adequate UV protection of young skin.
What to look for when buying a beach hat!
When it comes to sun protection, a wide-brimmed beach bucket style hat is one of the most important accessories we can own to help protect ourselves and our families from harmful UV rays. What features should they have? Read on for more.