Everybody knows that sunscreen is the most important item when you’re gonna spend your holidays at the beach, but there are a lot of types with different ingredients.
In Mexico and every destination with a coral reef it’s very important to use a biodegradable one, ‘cause even though regular sunscreen protects your skin, it can be very damaging for the acquatic environment.
Most of the attractions that involve getting wet, either in the Caribbean ocean (including the whale shark tour!) or the fresh water sinkholes ( cenotes), ask visitors to wear biodegradable sunscreen.
All sunscreens, blocks and oils wash off your skin when you are in the water, even the biodegradable ones. The difference between the biodegradables and the regular ones is that the biodegradables will be decomposed within a couple of days and the Non-biodegradable sunscreen takes a long time or never to decompose. Even products that degrade rapidly in water remain in the system long enough to cause damage to marine flora and fauna they come in contact with.
WHAT IS BIODEGRADABLE SUNSCREEN?
Biodegradable sunscreens don’t contain chemicals that can damage coral reefs and ocean life. Instead, they contain natural, eco-friendly ingredients that break down in a way that is not harmful.
Like traditional sunscreens, biodegradable sunscreen is available in a variety of SPF levels and formulas appropriate for your face or body. It is, of course waterproof. Most biodegradable formulas use the active ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which protect against UVA and UVB rays. Because these natural minerals sit on the surface of your skin rather than absorb like other sunscreens, they may leave you with a white cast, but some formulas claim that this disappears within minutes. These sunscreens are just as efficient as other types, and may even be better for your skin because they only contain natural ingredients.
To avoid any pollution and to protect the natural gifts we recommend to apply the biodegradable sunscreen long before the activity (like in your hotel room) and not just before entering the water. First of all it will work better and secondly we avoid any waste. We also recommend to protect themselves with (long sleeve) t-shirts (rash guard), had, caps, sunglasses, towels. We will ask our clients, before entering in the water, to take a shower to make sure chemicals from lotions, make up, sunscreen and deodorant don’t get introduced.
THE REGULAR ONES ARE DANGEROUS TO THE ENVIRONMENT
As we said before, they all wash off your skin when you are in the water. They settle on marine life and coral reefs, promoting viral infections, suffocating them and causing a bleaching effect. In fact, according to the Environmental Heath Perspectives Journal, 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen melt off of swimmers’ bodies annually and settle on the reefs. Avoid wearing sunscreens, lotions or any other products in the ocean that contain these harmful ingredients:
Imagine that every person that comes to the Riviera Maya puts on sunscreen then multiply it by the millions of tourists that visit the area each year; it results in tons and tons of sunscreen being washed into the ocean that ultimately accounts as one of the leading causes of coral bleaching and membrane mucus problems in marine creatures.
Please have in mind that your actions make the difference and try to stay ecologically conscious regardless of where you go in the world