We all know sunscreen (or sunblock) is non-negotiable if you are outside or in the water a lot. Hopefully by now, you have gotten the message and found a sunscreen that works for you and are using it regularly. Even though it doesn’t look attractive, we like to use a zinc cream, the gloopier the better so it stays on in the water for those long sessions.
So what stops people from using it?
We know that a lot of people avoid using sunblock because they feel it makes their skin breakout, they are concerned about the chemicals it contains or they just feel it is too much of a hassle.
Should you be concerned?
Sunscreens generally come in either physical or chemical forms. Physical or mineral sunscreens (often referred to as inorganic) use zinc and/or titanium dioxide and contain micro-fine particles that sit on the skin surface to provide a physical barrier to reflect UV rays. Chemical sunscreens (referred to as organic) contain active ingredients such as oxybenzone and avobenzone and bind with the skin’s cells to absorb and disperse UV radiation before it can cause damage.
Both have their pro’s and con’s and while the benefits of using sun protection to reduce the risk of skin cancer and ageing are well established, concerns about the long-term effect of sunscreen’s ingredients have been raised.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) which is a not-for-profit organisation with its own research arm provides a comprehensive guide and rating system for sunscreen products http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/.
The Australia Cancer Council of Victoria also has an informative fact sheet http://www.sunsmart.com.au/uv-sun-protection/slop-on-sunscreen if you want to learn more.
What should you do?
There are so many conflicting research reports, it is hard to know whether the chemicals in sunscreen have a long-term impact but what we do know is that we don’t want to come out of the surf looking like a lobster and so slather on the sunscreen while we are out there and take it off as soon as we come in.
How do you take it off?
Over the years at various different surf camps, we have had the opportunity to observe many different ways of removing sunscreen including using your t-shirt, bath towel or a handful of toilet paper.
Of course there are simpler ways to remove waterproof sunscreen such as good old soap and water in the shower, but we were always looking for something less harsh and a bit more convenient so we developed the TapaReef Sunscreen Remover Towelettes that come in a convenient individually wrapped packet you can throw in your pocket and a 25 count pouch to keep in your car or beach bag.
These towelettes were specifically developed to remove waterproof and water resistant sunblock and contain naturally derived ingredients for after-sun care such as anti-inflammatory witch hazel, anti-oxidant vitamin C and moisturising jojoba to soothe sun irritated skin.