4. Coral Bleaching
While sunscreens are beneficial in protecting humans from sunburn and skin cancer, they may cause damage to other ecosystems. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that the minerals and chemicals of sunscreen can damage marine life and the coral reef. The NOAA warns that sunscreen chemicals have damaging effects on sea urchins, fish, mussels, and dolphins. These chemicals also may destroy green algae and can bleach, deform, and kill coral. To protect marine life, the NOAA suggests using marine-safe sunscreens and protecting your skin with UV-protective clothing and by seeking shade.
3. Dangers Due to Sun Exposure
Overexposure to the rays of the sun can lead to a painful sunburn. As the skin burns, it turns red, becomes hot to the touch, and feels tight or dry. The pain of a sunburn may be followed by peeling as the damaged skin sloughs off. Repeated sunburns can cause premature aging of the skin. The skin may appear wrinkled, leathery, and dry. A more serious consequence of frequent sunburn is the increased risk of skin cancer. The Mayo Clinic lists precancerous skin lesions, skin cancer, and eye damage as complications caused by frequent exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
2. Recommendations for Sunscreen Use
The chemicals in sunscreen may be absorbed into your bloodstream. However, it currently appears that the benefits of sunscreen use outweigh the risks. When purchasing sunscreen, choose a product with an SPF of 30 or higher. Seek out a sunscreen that will provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, water-resistant formulations will provide greater protection if you are swimming or likely to become wet. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming. Cover all areas of skin that are exposed to the sun, including your scalp, neck, ears, and the tops of your feet.