Often as surfers are minds can be fixated on waves, that sometimes we forget to slip, slap, slop. I’m sure we’ve all been there, rushing to get ready and out into the lineup as quick as possible that we forget to put on sunscreen. Melanoma is a serious business after all, and getting sunburnt is never fun. If like me, you natural skin color is on the pale side anyway, it’s best to go with higher SPF factors such as 30+ or 50+ depending on where you are in the world and how strong the sun is.
I have been lucky enough to surf in some amazing hot and exotic countries, but countries were the sun is so much stronger than back home. I always make sure I pack enough sun protection for the trip, as you never know when you might be caught short for instance in more remote places or where basic necessities such as suncream might come at a higher price point because of greed or import cost.
Like many surfers, I’ve also tried the usual brands of suncream protection and zinc sticks. Remember that SPF is a guide, so if your usually burn in 10 minutes without sun protection it’s best to go for a higher rating such as SPF 30+ which will offer 300 minutes protection. But, keep in mind it degrades the moment you put it on your skin, so this should be used as a general guide. Also, is the surf is pumping you’re not gonna be going in and out of the water every 1hr to reapply, so with this in mind always go for a much higher level of protection and ideally choose a product designed and tested by surfers for surfers.
Whilst, often these may be the most convenient to buy they are not aways the best for your skin. Many suncreams actually contain chemical filters such as oxybenzone, homosalate and titanium dioxide. So what’s the problem you’re problem asking yourself? Well the problem is that many of these chemicals that are typical in cosmetic products such as the aforementioned oxybenzone have a very high toxicity rating. Despite its function to protect our skin from harmful UV rays, when we apply it sunscreen oxybenzone actually gets absorbed into our skin and stays in our body for an unknown period of time.
That’s pretty alarming. After all we’ve been buying these products for most of our lives and going out in the sun on the assumption that not only will the sunscreen protect us, but be free from toxic chemicals that will be absorbed by our skin. Shouldn’t these sunscreens be more closely scrutinized by industry regulators before being allowed to be stocked on shelves?
Unfortunately, until regulations change these big pharmaceuticals are still going to carry on producing sunscreens with oxybenzone in them in. That’s why it’s essential to always check the label on what you’re buying. If you’re not satisfied the sunscreen is free from parabens and toxic chemicals DON”T BUY IT! There are alternatives, such as our natural organic sunscreen which is a non-nano zinc oxide that is free from parabens and offer SPF 45+.
Thankfully, there is a positive moment towards change in sunscreens, and more companies are starting to produce non-toxic sunscreens. Hopefully, this growing awareness will put pressure on the big boys to buck their ideas up and start removing chemicals like oxybenzone from their sunscreens.