A planet-friendly way to get the sun-kissed look
We’re big advocates for venturing outdoors and indulging in the joys of nature – and for obvious reasons, summer is a prime time to do just that.
However, it shouldn’t just be a matter of donning shorts and a t-shirt and heading into the heat.
Climate change is touching every aspect of our lives, and right now we’re literally basking in it.
We want you to protect yourself and the environment this summer – which is why we’ve put together a guide to your ultimate ethical summer skincare routine. From sunscreen to self-tan, learn how you can stay safe while loving the earth, (and looking good while doing it).
Always wear sunscreen – but wear it right
We know how harmful the sun can be – at the very least, UV rays can damage and burn your skin. At the worst, they can be carcinogenic and cause serious illness.
When it comes to skincare protection during the summertime, you can’t be too careful:
- Avoid exposure during peak hours (usually noon-early evening)
- Cover up as much as you can
- And… Always wear sunscreen
But choose the right kind of sunscreen.
Sunscreen: What to avoid
Chemical sunscreens will protect you from getting burnt, they can also cause serious harm to you and the environment.
First, let’s talk about you. To state the obvious, your skin absorbs the products you use on it – and that means it’s taking in both the good and the bad. These ingredients make their way into your bloodstream and are therefore distributed throughout your body.
Now, let’s talk about the environment. Not all of that sunscreen is being absorbed by your skin – in fact, it’s estimated that 25% of it is washing off and ending up in our oceans.
Chemical sunscreens tend to contain at least a few harmful ingredients, such as:
These have been associated with hormone disruption, infertility, allergies, and skin irritation in humans. They also are incredibly harmful to coral, which has detrimental knock-on effects for the rest of the ocean’s ecosystems (and therefore the rest of the world).
The solution: Mineral sunscreens
First of all, don’t stop wearing sunscreen. Instead, look for mineral sunscreens with a high SPF – they’re just as effective and work to reflect UV radiation (rather than absorbing it, which is what chemical sunscreens do).
Self-tan dos and don’ts: Get a natural glow (naturally)
You want your skin to have a healthy glow – but we’ve just told you how dangerous it is to expose yourself to the sun. So, where do you go to get that sun-kissed look?
Hopefully by now you’re aware of the extreme dangers of tanning beds. If not, here’s a crash course: they are an intense form UV radiation that can increase your chances of getting melanoma by 75% if you use one before age 35.
Self-tan, however, is a different story – as long as you pay attention to the ingredients.
Self-tan: What to avoid
The everyday self-tan product that you find on the shelf at the local drugstore are typically full of ingredients that can be harmful.
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the ingredient that play the biggest role in creating that tanned look. It’s a form of sugar (typically of the artificial variety) that, once applied to your body, has a chemical reaction with the top layer of your skin, darkening it so that it resembles a tan.
Right now, the jury is out on the effects of DHA – some argue that it doesn’t penetrate past the first layer of dead skin cells, while other studies suggest that it can sink deeper, alter DNA, and change genetic composition.
Either way, everyone agrees that you shouldn’t ingest it directly, which means it’s best to avoid spray tanning products (as it’s almost impossible not to inhale at least a little bit).
Many self-tanning products contain other harsh chemicals and artificial scents and colours that are best avoided, such as:
- Mineral oil (which can be carcinogenic)
- Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate (which has been found to contain formaldehyde)
- Amyl acetate (which is also used as a cleaning ingredient)
- Octyl stearate (which can irritate your skin)
The solution: Make your own
We’ll level with you: homemade self-tan probably won’t have the same level of resilience or shelf-life as a store-bought product – but that’s because it’s not loaded with chemicals.
However, it can help you get the fabulous look you’re after, without delivering the nasty side effects. Plus, you can make your own self-tanner with ingredients that you probably have in the cupboard right now and get a satisfying glow that looks, feels, and (in a way) is natural.
- Brew 4-5 tea bags in 250ml of water
- Allow it to cool completely
- Pour it into a spray bottle
- Apply to your skin evenly
- Brew a cup of extremely strong coffee (6tbsp of grounds to 250ml of water) and allow it to cool
- Mix it with a simple, organic white moisturizing cream (the more cream, the lighter the ‘tan’)
- Apply to your skin evenly
- Add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to 1/4 c of a simple, organic white moisturizing cream
- Mix it until it’s completely dissolved (add more cocoa for a darker ‘tan’)
- Apply to your skin evenly
Bonus tip: Before you apply your homemade self-tan, make sure to wash and exfoliate your skin – check out our organic beauty tips for homemade exfoliant ideas!
Skin protection is incredibly important – but so is your health, and the health of the environment. Luckily there are plenty of ways you can take care of every aspect – and look summertime ready while you’re at it!
You can also learn more about buying ethical and conflict-free jewellery from EthicalJewellery.org.