Water-stewardship + Sunscreen

Lake + River Friendly Sunscreen

You may have heard or read before about how certain sunscreens are damaging coral reefs and now being banned in tropical parts of the world including Hawaii and Australia but these harmful effects are not just concentrated to ocean waters. Our water sources are interconnected and their individual and collective health are critical to our wellbeing. Further because our skin is our largest organ, we need to ensure that the sunscreen we are using is not harmful to us either. 

Naidie Nezu encourages everyone to wear mineral SPF sunscreen and to critical analyze the rest of the ingredients before purchasing.

The Lowdown

Sunscreens commonly protect our skin from UVA and UVB rays by creating either a mineral or chemical barrier.

Unfortunately, many sunscreens contain chemicals that are toxic to both us and our waterways.

Chemical SPF

When we put a chemical sunscreen on your skin and head for one of our many beautiful lakes, those toxins, can leach into both our skin and waterways & have a negative impact on our well-being as well as the environment and ecosystem. As such, when choosing a sunscreen it is important to check the ingredients & avoid ones that contain the following chemicals:


The Environmental Working Group, has rated Oxybenzone an 8 on their toxicity rating scale, meaning it is one of the most toxic ingredients found in cosmetic products. The EWG and other toxicology experts are concerned about Oxybenzone because it has been linked to hormone disruption and has the potential to damage cells that may lead to skin cancer.

Unfortunately, Oxybenzone is found in over 50% of our sunscreens.


Octinoxate often shows up in ‘natural’  sunscreens even though it is anything but. To make it, sulfuric acid is mixed with methanol, a petroleum by-product. This mixture is then heated, until it’s insoluble in water. Octinoxate is also an endocrine disruptor & readily absorbed by our body. It can be found in blood, urine, and breast milk.

Other Things to Avoid

Certain preservatives commonly used in sunscreens are also toxic to our water ways including those that contain parabens such as Methylparaben and Butylparaben, as well as Phenoxyethanol, a paraben free preservative, that was once commonly used as a mass fish anesthetic.

Sunscreens that contain any sort of fragrance can also have a negative effect on aquatic life.

Making Better Choices - Lake and River Friendly Sunscreens

Mineral based sunscreens offer UVA/UVB protection and are considered to be lake and river friendly sunscreens.

Look for sunscreens that contain non-nano Zinc Oxide and non-nano Titanium Dioxide which are two of the most effective UVA/UVB mineral based sun protections in the world.

Fragrance Free Formulas

Choose a sunscreen formula that is fragrance free to ensure you are not going to leave behind scents that can damage fragile aquatic life.

‘Natural’ Products

Regrettably, even sunscreens that are labeled as being ‘natural’ often contain chemicals that can damage our waterways which is why it’s so important to read labels.

Make Sure to Choose a Mineral Sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher

When picking your mineral sunscreen make sure you choose one that has a 30 SPF & been tested by FDA for water resistance. Don’t forget to reapply every 1.5-2 hours and have fun!

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