What are Zombie Corals and Why Should I Change My Sunscreen?

For youthful, healthy skin, suncare is an absolute must no matter what age you are. The damaging rays of the sun can cause premature wrinkles, spots, and even cancer. But did you know that sunscreen itself can actually be harmful? According to a multitude of studies, your local drugstore brands like Banana Boat and Coppertone may be more damaging than helpful when it comes to protecting your skin.

Let's start with zombie corals. What on earth are they? Here's what our good friend Marie Veronique has to say about them:

Scientists are now saying that hopes that sea corals will recover in the future are being dashed by the emergence of so-called "Zombie Corals," or corals with no reproductive ability. Cherly M. Woodley, a marine biologist at NOAA’s National Ocean Service led a research study that sampled 327 coral samples off the coasts of Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The University of Florida team found that in some places off the Florida keys the coral had no eggs or sperm, in contrast to remote areas of the virgin islands, where coral still had full reproductive ability. The areas most affected were the highly popular tourist areas, and the source of the problem was eventually narrowed down to oxybenzone, the most commonly used UVB filter in sunscreens. Oxybenzone has a number of deleterious effects on coral, causing DNA damage in adult coral while simultaneously deforming it at the larval stage. Shortly after the study’s findings were revealed at the 13th Annual Coral Reef Symposium moves to introduce legislation banning oxybenzonewere begun in Hawaii.

"We knew oxybenzone wasn’t good for children, then we found out it wasn’t good for men, and now we find out our coral reefs are suffering. The good news is that we have, for once, a problem we can pretty readily solve."

And get this: oxybenzone isn't only ruining the reproductive ability of corals. Oxybenzone is also linked to the increasing presence of certain chemicals in our environment with lowering fertility rates. A 15-year study of almost 5,000 Danish men with an average age of 19 found that only 25% had "really good semen quality—that is the shape and concentration of the sperm." The principal culprit in relation to fertility problems appears to be oxybenzone found in chemical sunscreens, judged ahormone disruptor by the EWG.

So now that we know how bad the chemical laden sunscreens available at our local drugstores are, what should we switch to?

Organic, natural, suncare alternatives, says Marie.One study shows that combining antioxidants Vitamin C, E and ferulic in the correct ratio can increase the protection power of your sunscreen by up to eight times. Other options include taking the antioxidant astaxanthin, which you can get through supplements and eating plenty of red and orange veggies. For a DIY antioxidant mist, try making green tea, chilling it, and spritzing it onto your face with a spray bottle for an extra boost. Pure Zinc Oxide, antioxidants, and vitamin C are the way to go.

Stop by the Pure Luxe Skin boutique for a variety of healthy suncare alternatives. We carry a variety of Marie Veronique products as well as Coola natural suncare.