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The Ugly Truth Behind Sunscreens

The Ugly Truth Behind Sunscreens

Sunglasses are again for sale in the Philippines especially this summer season. It is the hottest accessory of fashion-forward people and can be mixed and matched with any wardrobe.  A pair of shades is one of the summer essentials you actually need when you’re going to the beach or a resort. We bring it with us not just to flaunt our style but to protect our eyes from the sun’s heat and radiation.

Besides from the sunglasses you’ve bought for sale in the Philippines, what are the other things that must be present in your bag? We usually bring slippers; wide-brim hat; waterproof electronic device with camera; extra batteries and power bank; extra memory card; sunscreen; lightweight and comfortable clothes; and swimsuit. Did we miss anything? Just add it to this list.

Ah, sunscreens. Only a few brave souls who are itching to jump into the water are willing to go without it; stubborn ones who don’t want to miss the fun. Yet we all do know it is a vital part of the swimming regime that you want to end up as fun. According to American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. It has to be reapply least every two hours.  Not doing so can lead to sunburn, or worse skin cancer. You don’t want to learn a burning lesson the hard way, right?

Almost of all us (the obedient ones) are firm believers of “thou shall not swim without sunscreen.” However, in other news, sunscreens have a well-kept dirty little secret. Did you know that sunscreens and coral reefs are like oil and water? They just do not go well together.

Coral reefs are receiving a lot of media attention right now. It is not because of their vibrant colors. On the contrary, they are losing it. Badly.

This is infamously known as coral bleaching. Sunscreen is not the only one to blame here. Bleaching occurs due to extra-warm sea temperature, water pollution caused by humans, and salinity changes.

One of the recent examples is the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef which is considered as the largest living structure on the planet. Imagine thousands of square kilometers of bleached or plain white corals. It is disheartening. Based on a report of Boston Globe, as of now, only four out of 520 reefs of the Great Barrier Reef are not in a state of bleaching.

Coral reefs are not just an adornment sitting under our oceans. Without it, millions of marine species are going to be homeless and will starve. The ‘rainforests of the ocean’ also act as natural barriers or breakwater. It is a source of food for us humans as well because of the fishes living in it, especially for the coastal dwellers.

Going back to the case of sunscreens as public enemy number one of coral reefs, it is caused by oxybenzone, an ingredient in sunscreens which is responsible to block both UVA and UVB rays. Yup, the chemical compound that protects us from skin cancer can harm corals. As Science Alert reports, it “can disrupt growth, cause severe deformities, alter the coral’s DNA to make it more susceptible to bleaching, and can disrupt hormone production.” Ba–d sunscreen.

Sunscreens are not only the culprit but it is found in certain makeups such as mascaras, lipsticks and shampoos as well. Once we wash this off our skin, it goes down the drain and ends up in our ocean. Fortunately, not all sunscreens are created equal. There are benign products out there that are eco-friendly and you may check out the list here.

All is well and we can still have fun under the sun, after all!


Mom Manila is an investigator by trade and a writer by heart, cracking on trends and truths about style & fashion, beauty & wellness, travel, hobbies, technology, and home life. Always find something out with Mom Manila.

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