Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was recently photographed surfing in Hawaii with his face full of sunscreen. Instantly, photos of his surf look captured the attention on various social media platforms. People wondered why he has substantial amount of sunscreen on his face, with certain publications even poking fun at his attitude. What people don't know is that his approach was not only healthy but also environmentally friendly! Here is why!!
Mr. Zuckerberg was wearing a sunscreen made of zinc oxide, a physical ultraviolet (UV) rays blocker- and that choice is not arbitrary. In fact, chemical sunscreens, which are made of molecules like oxybenzone and octinoxate, are banned in Hawaii due to their harmful effects on aquatic environment.
"Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that these chemical filters are toxic to coral reefs and to several other marine organisms. Chemical sunscreens are found in the fish we eat and may be affecting our own health", explains Dr. Litvinov, a Director in Dermatology Research at McGill University.
Every year, ~14,000 tons of sunscreen are released into our oceans and affect coral reef habitats! In contrast, physical sunscreens are made of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and do not adversely affect marine species or coral reefs. Therefore, the use of physical rather than chemical sunscreens is encouraged, especially in Hawaii, a destination known for its multiple beaches and its extremely diverse marine ecosystem. Thus, by using a zinc oxide-based sunscreen (which invariably leaves a white cast), Mark Zuckerberg was actually protecting the marine life and coral reefs in Hawaii!
“Did you know that chemical sunscreens are actually banned in Hawaii?” highlights Dr. Netchiporouk, a certified dermatologist at McGill University and a senior author on a recently published study. Learn More
"Moreover, he also followed the recommendation to apply a generous amount of sunscreen especially while practicing water sports and outdoor activities. In fact, sunscreen washes off our skin when we swim and, unfortunately, if not enough sunscreen is applied, we lose its protective effect. Thus, it is important to be covered with a sufficient generous amount of sunscreen and to repeat application frequently, at least every 2 hours, according to American and Canadian Dermatologists' recommendation" , says Dr. Litvinov.