Is Blue Lizard sunscreen biodegradable?

This article will explain the biodegradability status of Blue Lizard sunscreen. Other covered topics would be:

  • Is Blue Lizard sunscreen biodegradable?
  • What are sunscreens made of?
  • Should you use Blue Lizard sunscreen?
  • Which sunscreens should be used?
  • FAQs

Is Blue Lizard sunscreen biodegradable?

Blue Lizard sunscreen is not biodegradable. This is because of the use of harmful and non-biodegradable chemicals such as isoparaffin and octinoxate. These chemicals are not only non-biodegradable but are also degradative to the environment. 

It is studied that chemicals such as octinoxate badly affect the corals by making them vulnerable to viral infections and reducing their source of algal energy. 

Blue lizard sunscreen is not only bad for the environment but also for the people. This is because of the use of chemicals such as polyacrylamide which is a potential carcinogen. 

It is therefore advised to use natural or mineral-based sunscreens that do not use chemicals such as polyacrylamide, liquidum, phenoxyethanol, butylparaben, and octinoxate. 

Can Blue Lizard sunscreen be degraded by microbes?

No, Blue Lizard sunscreen is not biodegradable. This is because of the use of harmful and non-biodegradable chemicals such as isoparaffin and octinoxate. These chemicals are not only non-biodegradable but are also degradative to the environment. 

It is studied that chemicals such as octinoxate badly affect the corals by making them vulnerable to viral infections and reducing their source of algal energy. 

Before we proceed further, let us revisit what biodegradation is. Biodegradation can be explained by getting an insight into two different terms that include bio and degradation. Bio means life and degradation means breakdown. 

Therefore, it can be said that biodegradation is the breakdown by the action of microbes. These microbes include bacteria, decomposers, and even fungi. 

However, it is not only about microbes. There are also other factors that are responsible for the biodegradation process. These include aeration, sunlight, temperature, and pressure. 

Biodegradation is often confused with related terminologies. These include degradation and composting. There are a lot of similarities but some subtle differences among these terminologies. 

The primary difference between biodegradation and degradation is that biodegradation is done by microbes whereas degradation is done through chemicals. 

Regarding biodegradation, there is a general rule of thumb that products made from natural materials are easily and readily biodegradable, whereas, products made from non-natural materials are not readily biodegradable. 

Therefore, there can be two types of waste based on biodegradability. These are: 

  • Biodegradable waste 
  • Non-biodegradable waste 

Examples of biodegradable waste include cotton, jute, rice, manure, sewage, bioplastics, and natural polymers (RNA, DNA, proteins). 

Examples of non-biodegradable waste include plastics, nylon, Dyneema et cetera. 

It is generally perceived that there are fervent health and environmental impacts of non-biodegradable waste. This is because such waste encapsulates the usage of fossil fuel derivatives.

Also, there is the use of harmful chemicals and synthetic products that may create many problems for the environment and health. 

Environmental problems include global warming, pollution, deforestation, and soil erosion. Medical complications may include cancer, developmental issues, hormonal disruption, and behavioural problems. 

What are sunscreens made of?

A historical perspective of sunscreens 

The use of sunscreen has existed for many hundred years. The idea of protecting one’s skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays is not that contemporary. 

It has existed for many centuries. However, it is logical to assume that the awareness of the exact science behind the sun’s effects on the skin could not have been known back then. 

The use of sunscreen is found in many ancient civilisations. For example, the Egyptians used the following natural materials as sunscreen: 

  • Rice bran extract
  • Jasmine
  • Lupine extracts

However, the use of contemporary sunscreen did not begin till the 20th century. It was Franz Grieter who first used sunscreen in the late 1930s. He made the first sunscreen from cocoa butter and veterinary petroleum. 

It is needless to say that the conventional sunscreen was majorly made from natural ingredients. These materials included plant-based and animal-based products that served the purpose of skin protection. 

However, as time has advanced, there has been an intervention of many synthetic chemicals that have taken over the use of natural ingredients. 

This has resulted mainly from the man’s hunger to get more by spending less. Chemical-based materials are easier to make and lighter on the pocket. However, they do come at the cost of our environment. 

This realisation remained eluded until very recently when people became more vigilant and watchful of the environmental impacts and wanted to change for good. 

It was the result of these efforts that many new and contemporary approaches were introduced such as eco-friendly, biodegradable, compostable, recyclable, and organic/inorganic. 

What are typical sunscreens made of?

A typical sunscreen these days may be made from a number of harmful and degradative chemicals that may cause environmental problems such as water pollution and damage to marine ecosystems.

If we explore the marketplace, we will find all sorts of sunscreens. However, many of those may contain harmful chemicals that have the capacity to cause environmental degradation. 

Examples of these chemicals may include: 

  • Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane
  • Paraffinum liquidum
  • Octocrylene
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
  • Triclosan

These are also the materials that make sunscreens non-biodegradable. This is mainly because the microbes are either unable to break down their structures and/or they find no nutritional content. 

To achieve the utilitarian aspect of sunscreens, many producers use these harmful chemicals. These chemicals are extremely hazardous to marine ecosystems, especially coral reefs. 

Negative effects such as bleaching of coral, the possibility of viral infections, and a decrease in algal energy sources are some of the few degradative effects that are caused by non-biodegradable sunscreens. 

The use of chemicals such as oxybenzone creates health problems for swimmers by polluting and contaminating the water. 

Therefore, in light of these effects, it is advised that sunscreens made from natural ingredients must be preferred. 

These sunscreens are biodegradable and pose no harm to marine ecosystems and water. These biodegradable sunscreens are made from ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium oxide which do not pose significant harm to the environment. 

What is the case of Blue Lizard sunscreen?

Blue lizard sunscreen is a non-biodegradable sunscreen because it contains non-biodegradable materials such as Paraffinum liquidum.

Although Blue Lizard sunscreen makes use of minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide (which are found in biodegradable and eco-friendly sunscreen), Blue Lizard also makes use of chemicals such as octinoxate and isoparaffin. 

These chemicals are known to affect marine ecosystems by impacting the coral reefs. Negative effects such as bleaching of coral, the possibility of viral infections, and a decrease in algal energy sources are some of the few degradative effects that are caused by non-biodegradable sunscreens. 

Further, it is claimed that Blue lizard sunscreen is not only bad for the environment but also for the people. This is because of the use of chemicals such as polyacrylamide which is a potential carcinogen. 

What this means is that Blue Lizard sunscreen can also cause skin cancer and therefore, it is best to avoid it to ensure that the environment and human health are safeguarded. 

Should you use Blue Lizard sunscreen? (7 reasons why you should not use Blue Lizard sunscreen) 

After analysing the biodegradability status of Blue Lizard and the environmental and health impacts caused by Blue Lizard sunscreen, let us probe into the answer to our main question. 

Should Blue Lizard sunscreen be used? The answer is no, it is not advised to use Blue Lizard sunscreen. It is because of the following reasons:

  • Blue Lizard sunscreen is non-biodegradable
  • Blue Lizard sunscreen contains harmful chemicals such as polyacrylamide, liquidum, and octinoxate
  • Blue Lizard sunscreen affects the marine ecosystem
  • Blue Lizard sunscreen damages coral reefs
  • Blue Lizard sunscreen causes water pollution
  • Blue Lizard sunscreen cause coral reef to become susceptible to viral infections
  • Blue Lizard sunscreen may cause cancer 

Which sunscreens should be bought?

As we have made a stance that it is not advisable to use Blue Lizard sunscreen, the next big question is which sunscreen should be used then?

It is important that consumers should make safe and sustainable choices and for that, awareness is a key factor. 

Before buying sunscreen, the following points must be taken into consideration: 

  • The sunscreen must be made from natural ingredients
  • The sunscreen must be biodegradable
  • The sunscreen must not contain chemicals such as polyacrylamide, liquidum, phenoxyethanol, butylparaben, and octinoxate
  • The sunscreen can be mineral based such as sunscreens made from zinc oxide or titanium oxide 
  • The sunscreen must not damage the marine ecosystem and life 
  • The sunscreen must not cause toxicity in fish 

Conclusion

It is concluded that Blue Lizard sunscreen is not biodegradable. This is because of the use of harmful and non-biodegradable chemicals such as isoparaffin and octinoxate. These chemicals are not only non-biodegradable but are also degradative to the environment. 

It is studied that chemicals such as octinoxate badly affect the corals by making them vulnerable to viral infections and reducing their source of algal energy. 

Blue lizard sunscreen is not only bad for the environment but also for the people. This is because of the use of chemicals such as polyacrylamide which is a potential carcinogen. 

What this means is that Blue Lizard sunscreen can also cause skin cancer and therefore, it is best to avoid it to ensure that the environment and human health are safeguarded. 

It is therefore advised to use natural or mineral-based sunscreens that do not use chemicals such as polyacrylamide, liquidum, phenoxyethanol, butylparaben, and octinoxate. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is Blue Lizard sunscreen biodegradable?

When was the first sunscreen used?

The use of contemporary sunscreen did not begin till the 20th century. It was Franz Grieter who first used sunscreen in the late 1930s. He made the first sunscreen from cocoa butter and veterinary petroleum. 

Is biodegradable sunscreen good at its function?

Yes, biodegradable sunscreens are equally effective. Further, since there are no chemical uses, these sunscreens are actually better for the skin because there is no risk of diseases. 

What is reef-safe sunscreen?

Reef-safe sunscreens are sunscreens that do not contain chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals damage coral reefs. 

References 

  • Levine, A. (2020). Sunscreen use and awareness of chemical toxicity among beachgoers in Hawaii prior to a ban on the sale of sunscreens containing ingredients found to be toxic to coral reef ecosystems. Marine Policy, 117, 103875.
  • Rach, J. J., Schreier, T. M., Howe, G. E., & Redman, S. D. (1997). Effect of species, life stage, and water temperature on the toxicity of hydrogen peroxide to fish. The Progressive Fish‐Culturist, 59(1), 41-46.
  • Downs, C. A., Bishop, E., Diaz-Cruz, M. S., Haghshenas, S. A., Stien, D., Rodrigues, A. M., … & DiNardo, J. C. (2022). Oxybenzone contamination from sunscreen pollution and its ecological threat to Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. Chemosphere, 291, 132880.
  • Burnett, M. E., & Wang, S. Q. (2011). Current sunscreen controversies: a critical review. Photodermatology, photoimmunology & photomedicine, 27(2), 58-67.
  • Iannacone, M. R., Hughes, M. C. B., & Green, A. C. (2014). Effects of sunscreen on skin cancer and photoaging. Photodermatology, photoimmunology & photomedicine, 30(2-3), 55-61.

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