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Mineral Sunscreen


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My kids go to an outdoor pre-k, and we use mineral sunscreen almost every day. It's a pain in the butt to get it off my hands afterwards, and I'm wondering if anyone has any tricks? The bottle says it's "reef friendly" (whatever that means, I assume just less harmful than chemical sunscreen), but I don't trust it near any of the tanks still. It's 3% titanium dioxide and 15% zinc oxide, along with a ton of inactive ingredients. I've taken to using a makeup applicator to put it on them, but it still gets all over my hands.

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I 100% use Dawn soap and rinse thoroughly before putting my arms in any of my tanks. I have never had a problem. If Dawn can take oil off seabirds and strip wax off cars, I totally trust it to take all the product I layer on my skin off. 

(ONLY Dawn, no other brands)

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On 7/4/2024 at 5:54 PM, Pepere said:

Alternatively you could wear nitrile gloves when applying the sunscreen to keep it off your hands in the first place…

... but what about protecting my hands from burning? 😛

[cmon you knew some jerk would ask]

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You could also potentially look into what "base" the sunscreen has. "Like dissolves like" is helpful to remember when you're trying to dissolve something, in this case the protective film formed by sunscreen. Water resistant/sport sunscreens tend to have an oil base so it's possible that mineral or coconut oil will dissolve it well and then regular old Dawn can take care of the rest. There's also Biokleen, which I use at work to get off bug spray and deep clean terrestrial colonies (mostly invertebrates).

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On 7/4/2024 at 9:25 PM, Maximus said:

The bottle says it's "reef friendly" (whatever that means, I assume just less harmful than chemical sunscreen)

That is a great topic to mention. I have been thinking of making a topic about it couple days ago and just saw you mention this.

It is about the common ingredients harming corals that exist in many chemical sunscreens . Therefore, after seeing about this issue on instagram, I talked to my family about switching to mineral based reef safe sunscreen options.

In the video below it explains the effects shortly.

Switching to reef friendly option is the least we can do.

Thanks for bringing it up again. 

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On 7/5/2024 at 1:07 PM, Lennie said:

That is a great topic to mention. I have been thinking of making a topic about it couple days ago and just saw you mention this.

It is about the common ingredients harming corals that exist in many chemical sunscreens . Therefore, after seeing about this issue on instagram, I talked to my family about switching to mineral based reef safe sunscreen options.

In the video below it explains the effects shortly.

Switching to reef friendly option is the least we can do.

Thanks for bringing it up again. 

I'm personally iffy on this. This is an educational resource that seems well-intentioned but doesn't have the best research associated. The EWG specifically is notorious for fear-mongering with unreproducible data or misrepresenting data findings. Here's an open letter that they received several years ago. Personally I think that "reef-safe" is a marketing tactic above all else because it makes consumers believe that products that aren't labeled so are inherently unsafe. It applies pressures to other manufacturers to include it within their marketing, because consumers begin to make assumptions after the term begins to occupy their mental space while shopping. Buy whatever sunscreen that you want, as the best sunscreen is the one that you will remember to use, that your children will allow you to reapply with minimal fuss, and that causes the least irritation in your skin. Skin cancer is no joke and I do not wish for people to artificially limit their options in terms of protection.

When it comes to everything, the dose makes the poison. This ultimately reads to me as media and marketing passing emotional responsibility to consumers rather than forcing the organizations responsible for the majority of the pollution to take responsibility and make changes that will result in a healthier planet. Many of the studies citing specific UV filters as harmful have been found outdated due to newer research, better understanding of comorbid factors carrying greater weight, or were outright misrepresented by organizations with the sole goal of getting clicks. Most of the research that I've found that considers sunscreen's impact in comparison to other factors was conducted in Australia and found that rising ocean temperatures were the greatest factor, followed by ocean acidification caused by the burning of fossil fuels and agricultural runoff. Just as when we accidentally introduce something undesired to our aquarium, dilution is the solution to pollution.

 

A few interesting jumping off points if you would like to read more and see where I've built my thoughts from. The TedX speaker is Terry Hughes of Australia's National Coral Bleaching Taskforce and has published a large number of academic papers on the causes of coral bleaching since the 1980s. His record in general has helped me to learn where to put my energy with regard to conservation.

Free:

https://theconversation.com/theres-insufficient-evidence-your-sunscreen-harms-coral-reefs-109567
(on BP-3 AKA oxybenzone and octinoxate, the most commonly scrutinized chemical filters)

https://www.jcu.edu.au/news/releases/2016/april/only-7-of-the-great-barrier-reef-has-avoided-coral-bleaching

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature22901

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/acidification.html


Paywalled:

https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-75393-5
Very helpful at evaluating multiple causes for bleaching. Sunscreen isn't even mentioned.

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