How to protect your skin and the marine ecosystem?

The pollution of the oceans and the seabed continues to worsen, their protection becoming a major environmental issue. The figures released by the Greenpeace association are giddy. Every minute, the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic is dumped into our precious oceans, but that's not the only cause of this marine pollution. Solar products are also an ecological threat to the marine ecosystem. Indeed, according to the association Green Cross France, each year nearly 25,000 tonnes of chemical active ingredients from sunscreens are dumped into the oceans, nearly a quarter of which would be absorbed by corals and microalgae and would lead to their death in less than 48 hours. time ! So this summer, how can each of us, on a small scale, preserve this marine ecosystem that is so dear to us? We have put together a few tips or simple actions for you to adopt if you too want to help change the game.

What about ecological solar products?

There is no question of abandoning the protection of your skin in favor of the oceans and vice versa ...  There is no such thing as 100% ecological sunscreen yet, but some have a limited and less damaging effect on the marine ecosystem. So what should you know beforehand to choose a sunscreen that is both skin-protective and environmentally friendly?  
For this, you must already understand the nature of the UV filter composing your sunscreen. There are two, chemical filters and mineral filters. Both filters can be present in solar cosmetics in the form of nanomaterials, that is to say according to cosmetic regulations, a material produced intentionally, with infinitely small molecules, less than 100nm. Nanomaterials are insoluble in water and therefore end up dispersed in our seas. If nanomaterials are present in the product, the manufacturer is required to include the word [nano] appended to the name of the substance appearing in the list of ingredients displayed on the packaging.

Chemical filters are made up of organic molecules that penetrate the epidermis in about 20 minutes after application and are then able to absorb UV rays. According to a study published by theAgency for Marine Research and Development (ARVAM), it is also after 20 minutes of swimming that ¼ of the sunscreen, however resistant to water, is lost and diluted in seawater. However, the molecules and components of this cream solar have a destructive effect on algae and in particular on zooxanthella, an algae necessary for the development of corals. The result is a bleaching of these corals and therefore their disappearance.

We remind you to stay away from sun products containing octocrylene, a chemical filter, present to absorb UVB rays but which after a few months transforms in the bottle into a substance suspected of carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting.  Octocrylene is also harmful to our corals. The US Virgin Islands and the Republic of the Marshall Islands have banned it in sunscreen products.

Mineral filters, on the other hand, leave a white film on the surface of the skin that will reflect UV rays. These rays therefore do not penetrate the epidermis, but provide you with effective and immediate protection. Mineral filters, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, have a much less harmful impact on the marine ecosystem provided they are not in nanoparticulate form. Be sure to select mineral sunscreens referenced by "Zinc Oxide" or "Titanium Dioxide" in the list. INCI without the presence of nanoparticles necessarily indicated by this mention [nano].

If you want to combine protection of your skin and the oceans, therefore prefer mineral sunscreens to chemical sunscreens. It is certain that creams with mineral filters can leave a slightly white, not very aesthetic film, more or less strong depending on the brand chosen, but this is the counterpart for the protection of the oceans.

However, some sunscreens may contain both types of filters. The list of chemical sun filters is too long to mention them to you in order to recognize them on the INCI lists of sunscreen, so instead ask your beauty advisor for advice or check the websites of the brands concerned to find out. more on their composition. the Cosmebio label guarantees the absence of chemical sun filters.

Best of all, mineral filters, while not in nanoparticulate form, are not allergenic, unlike chemical filters which have this major drawback. Indeed, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide generally present in mineral creams are very mildly irritating to the skin, which is why they are often used in products intended for children. They are recommended for sensitive and reactive skin or even skin allergic to the sun!

There is no such thing as an ecological and 100% effective protective sunscreen, which is why we will always advise you to wear a hat and avoid sun exposure as much as possible between 11 am and 4 pm.

Limit the impact of your water sports

You now know how to limit your ecological impact by using the right solar products, let's see how to continue this great momentum through your leisure activities… Head for the Mediterranean and its sumptuous landscapes which are home to a very diverse flora and fauna. 

You might be tempted to take a boat trip to enjoy the sunny afternoons that the Mediterranean offers ... But be careful not to anchor anywhere! The anchoring of boats is unfortunately devastating for the seabed, especially for Posidonia, underwater flowering plants. The Posidonia herbarium is the most important ecosystem in the Mediterranean and plays a fundamental role in the conservation of marine biodiversity. Indeed, it is home to many species of fish, has a barrier function that limits coastal erosion and releases a large amount of oxygen (20 liters of oxygen per day for each m² of herbarium). You will understand, this plant is essential to the survival of our marine ecosystem, but it is also particularly sensitive. However, a boat anchor, depending on its size, can destroy 6 to 34 Posidonia in each passage! This plant is therefore in great danger of extinction even though it is of vital importance ... If you navigate in coves and inlets where boats are prohibited, go your way, nature will thank you! If you nevertheless wish to anchor, then opt for an anchoring area according to the color of the seabed, this will allow you to favor recognizable sandy areas, because they are lighter. If you accidentally anchor in an area of Posidonia meadows, you can limit the damage by raising the anchor directly above the boat, which will limit the devastating impact of the anchor on the plants.

Simple gestures to adopt all year round

Here are two good, simple habits to take to protect the oceans. 

Avoid drinking bottled water

The recycling rate of plastic bottles is only 25%, the majority is found in nature and often ends up in our oceans ... The best alternative is therefore to favor the use of a stainless steel bottle.

This would help reduce the ecological footprint associated with plastic bottles found in nature and which require 450 years to degrade naturally.

In addition, these isothermal gourds will allow you to maintain the freshness of your water for an average of 24 hours or of your hot drinks for 12 hours! They thus provide comfort that is not necessarily guaranteed by plastic bottles.

Don't throw cigarette ends into the sea

"Old habits die hard." This expression is only more true when it comes to cigarette butts ... Many smokers have become accustomed to throwing their butts on the ground. The components of these cigarette ends will then be able to pass into runoff and pollute underground sources.  More than plastic bags, it is cigarette butts that pollute the oceans the most. So give preference to the fire-resistant bins made available to dispose of your cigarette butts, at the risk of polluting 500 liters of water for a cigarette butt. By taking this automatic action, you will also avoid accidental fires in the summer and the devastation they cause on our beautiful forests.

All that remains is to wish you a wonderful summer. Take the opportunity to recharge yourself with this beautiful energy offered by our seas and our sun, this brilliant star so precious to life!