Green Tips: Eco-friendly sun protection |

Green Tips: Eco-friendly sun protection

Caitlin Vance
Recycle Utah

Summer is here, which means everyone is heading outside to enjoy the sunshine. Before you go to the pool or out on a hike, think about ways you can protect your skin from sun exposure.

Here are a few common myths and ideas for effective and environmentally friendly sunscreen protection:

• A high SPF number yields more protection: On some sunscreens, the sun protection factor number only protects the skin from UVB rays, which burn the superficial layers of the skin and also cause skin cancer. Even with a high SPF of 70 or 80, the skin's deeper and thicker layers can be affected by UVA rays, which cause wrinkling and a compromised immune system.

• You don't need to wear sunscreen: Anytime you are outdoors, you should apply sunscreen. Along with sunscreen, wearing extra clothing and a hat protects you from rays better than anything else. Sunglasses are also important for protecting your eyes from UV radiation.

• Sunscreens all have the same, harmless chemicals: Sunscreens are composed of mineral and/or chemical filters. Oxybenzone is a chemical blocker and an active ingredient in 65 percent of sunscreens. It can cause allergic skin reactions and is also a hormone disruptor. Oxybenzone is also contributing to the decline of coral reefs around the world, as it's toxic to coral. Instead of buying chemical-based sunscreens, opt for mineral-based ones. Look for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in the active ingredients.

Check out for a list of the best and worst sunscreens. Have fun this summer and make sure to remember these tips.

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Recycle Utah, a community nonprofit and drop-off recycling center, provides these weekly tips. Visit for more information.