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The Green Life: Protect Your Skin--and the Planet

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July 03, 2008

Protect Your Skin--and the Planet

Sunscreen You know it’s smart to wear sunscreen, but why hurt the earth while saving your skin? Sunscreens can damage the environment with chemicals that take ages to break down and end up bleaching coral reefs (a couple of nasties: the UV inhibitors 4-methylbenzylidene camphor and octocrylene). Many also contain a raft of harmful ingredients that don’t add anything in the skin-protection department. Fortunately, an increasing number of products address at least one, if not both, of these problems.

The Environmental Working Group has put together a special report on sunscreens. After investigating nearly 1,000 products, the organization scored them on a scale from zero (no hazard) to ten (high hazard) based on performance in categories like ecological and reproductive toxicity. Filled with ingredients like avocado and olive oil, only these four clocked in with no strikes against them:

--J.S.

More Green Life tips for making your day at the beach a green one:

Ever been frustrated in your search for sunscreen or other products with small environmental footprints? Share your tips and stories.

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