How You Can Positively Impact the Future of the Sunscreen Industry

climate change and the future of sunscreen industry


The sunscreen industry used to be a very nasty one. Until the past few years, most sunscreens brands were solely focused on protecting us from UV's. The downside of that was that they didn't mind harming our health or the environment in the process. 

After years of research and studies, scientists were able to demonstrate how certain chemicals attached to sunscreens - like Oxybenzone and Octinoxate - intoxicated both our cell reproduction and those of the ocean.

They observed how those sunscreens left a sheer layer of chemicals in the ocean, pushing the corals to bleach. They noted how those same products soaked into our skin, triggering the sensitive balance of our hormones. In the end, they concluded that these chemicals were doing more harm than good. Compared to natural alternatives available on the market, this was especially true as natural sunscreen didn't do as much damage. 

Today, we are at a turning point between the two. Chemical sunscreens are still easily accessible on the shelf, yet natural alternatives are starting to grow in popularity. So how can you help tilt the balance towards natural sunscreens? What should you settle for when it comes to picking a product? And what does the future of sunscreens look like? Let's dive in. 

Choose Clean and Beware of Greenwashing

Today, more and more products are labelled with some sort of green stamp. Whether that's cruelty-free, clean, 100% natural, or certified organic, these labels urge a more green consumption of skincare.

A study estimated that 83% of Gen-Z and millennials preferred to buy a green product compared to a regular one. Even when the price was higher. After all, as a consumer yourself, you're probably tired of damaging your skin and the planet simply with your sunscreen. So when a skin or suncare product offers a chemical-free composition, it is immediately more appealing.

However, not all products are created equal. A green label without transparency can quickly become greenwashing. Greenwashing is a term used to describe a business's shady marketing. We are being greenwashed when a product claims environmental or natural benefits that have not been proven. And unfortunately, there is a lot of that going around the skincare and sunscreen industry. 

In the last few years, popular beach destinations like Hawaii saw a surge of sunscreens branding themselves as green, when in fact, they still contained toxic ingredients like oxybenzone. Tourists and locals were unaware that they were putting harmful ingredients on their skin and in the ocean. So, as a result, Hawaii recently introduced a ban on harmful and chemical-filled sunscreens to stop sunscreen brands from greenwashing

However, one small part of the world is not enough. In Australia, while some states are productive in warning about the damage of chemical sunscreen, there is currently no ban in place. Thankfully, as consumers, we drive the trend. What we buy sends a loud message to brands and governments, showing that we want changes. 

Demand Multi-Purpose Products for a Greener Future

Today, it seems we shouldn't settle for any less than a product that is clean and a brand that offers transparency. Yet, brands that can deliver this coupled with inclusive, multi-purpose, and eco-friendly products are the ones leading the way in the future. 

A recent skincare-focused study showed the shift towards multi-functional products. Tinted sunscreen that offers moisture, coverage, and protection were among the most popular. And really, it makes sense. The less-is-more trend is growing on everyone, and who wouldn't want extra benefits through only one product? Yet, when it comes to sunscreen, we should ask for more.

As we explored in "A simple guide to SPF", most sunscreen only offers protection for UVB. However, when it comes to skin damage, both UVB and UVA are responsible. So shouldn't all sunscreens protect us from both? We definitely think so. 

On top of that, it's important to think about the eco-friendliness of our sunscreen. Sustainability is a trend that is here to stay. And for very good reasons. A few years back, packing products with tons of plastic seemed to be the easy and cheapest solution for brands. 

Yet, our desire to save the planet and minimize our impact has grown root in our consuming habits. While the skincare and sunscreen industry struggles to shift out of single plastic use, products offered in reusable packaging are growing more and more appealing. And luckily, it is forcing brands to shift their offering.

You, as a consumer, hold a lot of power. The more you demand sustainability and transparency, the more businesses will shift to give you what you want. So imagine what can happen when we all start to buy skin and suncare that are clean, green, and multitasking. Together we can positively impact the environment and the future of the sunscreen industry.

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