The first rule about buying reef-safe sunscreens is to ignore any labelling claims (including logos) such as “marine-safe”, “marine-friendly”, and “coral-reef safe”. Why? Because there is no agreed definition on what coral reef-safe sunscreens are. In fact, less than 10 countries have taken any action in protecting coral reefs from controversial sunscreen ingredients, and less-than-scrupulous manufacturers use such labels as vacuous marketing terms as there is no law preventing them from doing otherwise.
What Are Coral Reefs?
Corals are living organisms that join each other to form coral reefs that can stretch hundreds of miles (think: the Great Barrier Reef in Australia). They have also often been described as the “rainforests of the seas”. What coral reefs contribute to our ecosystem and economy is hard to appreciate.
The Environmental Protection Agency (an American government agency) estimates that coral reefs contribute to at least 25% of all marine life. These delicate ecosystems are vital to the survival of at least half a billion people globally through food, coastal protection, and supporting local economies (through fishing and tourism). And with #OnlyOneEarth – the theme of World Environment Day 2022 – calling for transformative action on a global scale, the time to protect them is now.
Modern-Day Threats to Coral Reefs
It’s unsurprising that coral reef sites (such as in Australia or Hawaii) are also very popular tourist destinations. However, there are several threats to coral reefs including pollution, rising ocean temperatures (via global warming), and the acidification of oceans. Corals derive their beautiful colour from algae that they hold and, when stressed, they expel their algae. This leads to coral bleaching, which can kill them.
Coral Reefs and Your Sunscreen
Sunscreens contain ingredients called UV filters that are designed to filter out specific UV rays to prevent the skin from getting affected by some of the damaging effects of these rays. In most countries, only specific ingredients are permitted as filters. The most controversial filters are:
Oxybenzone (or Benzophenone-3)
Octinoxate (or Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate)
Avobenzone (or Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane)
Hawaii specifically bans all four ingredients. A 2015 study by a group of scientists, including a US government body and Dr Downs of Haereticus Lab (HEL), found that Oxybenzone was highly toxic to juvenile corals in four ways:
Inducing coral bleaching (which can lead to their death)
Damaging DNA (which can prevent them from reproducing)
Acting as an endocrine disruptor
Causing juvenile coral to become deformed
Octinoxate pretty much has the same effect. Avobenzone and Octocrylene were only recently banned by Hawaii (with final measures coming in 2023) and the state government notes that these chemicals can not only affect corals, but also disrupt human hormones. Octocrylene can also degrade into a carcinogen.
Other Ingredients You Should Look for in Sunscreens
The HEL laboratory lists out 11 ingredients that it suggests you look for in sunscreens and other personal care products. The most relevant are:
Note that ingredients such as Parabenzoic Acid and Methylbenzylidene Camphor that are listed are not found in most sunscreens anyway. Both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are commonly referred to as “mineral” sunscreens in the USA. Mineral sunscreens tend to sit on top of the skin and leave a not-so-flattering white cast. Nano or micro-sized Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide sunscreens have smaller particle sizes and, therefore, do not leave a white cast and are increasing in popularity. A US government study indicates that, at high concentrations, they can be damaging to aquatic life – not just corals. But further research needs to be carried out to confirm the specific impact on corals. Specifically, Nano Zinc Oxide – also called Coated Zinc Oxide – can accelerate coral bleaching.
Where Does That Leave Us?
Not many countries ban sunscreen ingredients, and most cannot police every sunscreen bottle that tourists bring into the country. Therefore, it really is up to you and me to do the responsible thing. That means opting for non-Nano Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide sunscreens.
Which Sunscreens Should You Use?
My primary criterion for selecting a sun cream is how harmless it is for corals and marine life. I’ve gone through each ingredient label andpersonally tried products, arriving at these top three sunscreens:
When this sunscreen first came out, the brand touted it as being the price of a coffee. I find that to be quite a disservice to this decent tinted sunscreen, with the only caveat being that it smells like chalk.
Back To Basics: The Skincare Routine For Oily & Acne Prone Skin
A simple and effective way to care for oily and acne prone skin types.
In our last Back to Basic Skincare Series we looked at how to implement a minimalistic skincare routine for dry and dehydrated skin with the right products. In this blog, we are reviewing a skin care routine for oily skin and sharing with you the best skincare routine for oily skin, and best products and formulations to keep your skin healthy and looking its best!
We know how difficult it can be to care for and balance out an oily skin type. The challenge is even greater for those suffering from regular acne breakouts with the wrong oily skin care routine. Although we can’t make them disappear overnight, there are ways to diminish their appearance and get your skin to be less reactive with a concise and effective regime. In order to achieve those results, we need to clear up some popular myths surrounding the skin care routine for oily skin, excess oil production and breakouts.
Oily or combination skin types are genetically predisposed. This is the type of skin that you were born with and not a condition you can treat and cure. Oily skin types exist when there is an overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands of the dermis which gives a shine and greasy look to the skin. This hyperactivity produces excess oils that overfill the pores and enlarge them. The sebum in the pores mixes with dirt and bacteria. Dead skin cells get trapped and form blackheads and whiteheads under the surface of the skin. Blackheads and whiteheads are a different type of skin condition collectively known as acne.
How Do I Know if I Have Oily Skin?
You can look out for the following signs and characteristics such as excessive shine. Oily skin tends to have a persistent shine, particularly in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). This shine can be noticeable throughout the day, even after washing your face. One might even notice enlarged pores. Oily skin often has visibly larger pores, especially in the aforementioned T-zone area. These pores can be more noticeable and may even be clogged with oil, debris, or blackheads.
If you suffer from frequent breakouts, that’s because oily skin is prone to acne breakouts, including whiteheads, blackheads, and other forms of pimple-like blemishes. See if your breakouts appear more frequently and may be concentrated in the T-zone. This is a sign of oily skin.
Have you noticed your makeup melting? If your makeup tends to slide off or lose its matte finish quickly, it could be an indication of oily skin. The excess oil can interfere with the adherence and longevity of makeup products.
Let’s talk about greasy texture. Oily skin often feels greasy or slick to the touch, especially on the surface of your face. When you blot your skin with a tissue or blotting paper, you may notice oil residue on the paper.
If you experience a combination of these signs, it is likely that you have oily skin.
Step-by-Step Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin
The best way to address oily skin care routine, oily skin types and reduce acne is to follow a good skin care routine for oily skin that helps balance out the oil production on the skin while keeping it well hydrated and avoid any disruption on the dermis barrier. Avoid the use of any harsh or drying products such as alcohol and other astringents, or irritating ingredients like menthol, lemon, eucalyptus as well as, aromatic oils and solid rich formulations such as bar soaps that clog the pores, making matters worse by exacerbating the oil secretion on the skin.
For a simple and effective skin care routine for oily skin we recommend the following steps:
Step 1: Cleanser
Cleanse your skin twice daily, in the morning and night, using a mild water-soluble facial cleanser to remove excess oils and avoid buildup in the pores. As mentioned above, avoid any aggravating ingredients and/or harsh scrubs and cleansing tools. Remember, the tingling sensation does not equal cleaner skin, it’s a sign of irritation that is not good for any skin type.
Clean & Clear daily pore cleanser oil free
Garnier skinactive micellar foaming gel cleanser combination to oily skin, even sensitive
Cerave renewing SA cleanser
Kiehls ultra facial cleanser for all skin types
Oil-Free Daily Pore Cleanser, PRP AED 21.95, available at head2toes.ae
Micellar Gel Face Wash Sensitive Skin, PRP AED 25, available at asos.com
Foaming Cleanser Normal To Oily Skin, PRP AED 50.31, available at caretobeauty.com
Ultra Facial Cleanser, PRP AED 98, available at kiehls.ae
Step 2: Toner
This is one of the most important steps of a skin care routine for oily skin. A well formulated, alcohol-free exfoliating toner will replenish your skin with antioxidants and calming ingredients, minimize the appearance of enlarged pores and remove any residues of makeup or dirt that could possibly clog the pores. An exfoliating toner that contains BHA’s such as salicylic acid is a fantastic fit for oily skin types as it is oil soluble and can get deep down in the pores unclogging them from the roots and keeping those black and white heads at bay.
COSRX BHA blackhead power liquid
Bioderma sebium pore refiner
The Inkey List PHa toner
Derma e soothing toner with anti-aging
Bha Blackhead Power Liquid, PRP AED 120.15, available at carethy.net
Contrary to common belief, oily skin types need to stay well hydrated to keep the dermis acting and looking healthy. Proper levels of hydration on the skin are fundamental to keep it functioning and regenerating at is best. To learn more about the differences between dehydrated and dry skin check our first Back to Basics skincare instalment. When choosing a moisturiser focus on an oil-free, lightweight water-based formulation, that will effectively hydrate your skin without clogging your pores or leaving a heavy and greasy feeling to it.
Clinique moisture surge hydrating lotion
Glow Recipe watermelon glow pink juice moisturizer
Elf oil control liquid lotion
Drunk Elephant f-balm electrolyte waterfacial
Moisture Surge Eye™ 96-Hour Hydro-Filler Concentrate, PRP AED 220, available at sephora.ae
Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer, PRP AED 97.50, available at cultbeauty.co.uk
Oil Control Liquid Lotion, PRP AED 70.99, available at amazon.ae
Nowadays they are so many elegant and sophisticated sun block formulations that are oil free and non-comedogenic. The Gaggler prefers products in a lotion form that contain the active ingredients zinc oxide and or titanium dioxide which have been proven to prevent acne breakouts. In addition, proper sun protection as part of a skin care routine for oily skin helps you prevent any pigmentation scaring.
Shiseido ultimate sun protection SPF 50 sunscreen + wetforce for sensitive skin + children
Peter Thomas Roth Mineral Naked Broad Spectrum SPF 45
Neutrogena ultra sheer face sunscreen SPF45
La Roche Posay anthelious 50 mineral ultra light sunscreen fluid SPF50 face
Expert Sun Protection Lotion Wetforce SPF50+ Face And Body, PRP AED 147.70, available at sweetcare.com
Max Mineral Tinted Broad Spectrum SPF 45, PRP AED 153.86, available at revolve.com
Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF45, PRP AED 114, available at noon.com
If you suffer from acne prone skin and regular breakouts you would want to introduce a treatment serum on your regime that contains benzyl peroxide to help regulate oil production during the day while reducing redness and inflammation; and a retinol serum to keep skin clear and rejuvenated at night time. Another great ingredient you can include in your regiment is the powerful antioxidant niacinamide that helps out with the appearance of enlarged pores, while also soothing and calming the skin and providing anti-aging benefits.
Drunk Elephant framboise glycolic night serum
The Ordinary Niacinamide 2%
Proactiv emergency blemish relief
La Roche Posay effaclar duo corrective unclogging care
Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, PRP AED 450, available at noon.com
Emergency Blemish Relief, PRP AED 173, available at noon.com
Effaclar Duo[+] Corrective Unclogging Care, PRP AED 81.27, available at caretobeauty.com
Things to Avoid
When it comes to caring for oily skin, there are a few key things to avoid. Firstly, steer clear of heavy, oil-based moisturizers and skincare products that can exacerbate the oiliness. Instead, opt for lightweight, oil-free or water-based alternatives that won’t clog pores. Secondly, avoid harsh cleansers or soaps that strip away too much oil, as this can lead to increased oil production. Opt for gentle, non-comedogenic cleansers that won’t disrupt the skin’s natural balance. Next, refrain from over-washing your face, as this can strip away essential oils and trigger more oil production. Stick to washing your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Lastly, try to avoid heavy makeup and opt for oil-free or non-comedogenic formulas to prevent clogged pores and breakouts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best night skincare routine for oily skin?
A night skincare routine for oily skin should focus on controlling excess oil production and preventing breakouts. Start by thoroughly cleansing your face with a gentle, oil-free cleanser to remove dirt and sebum. Afterward, use an exfoliating toner containing salicylic acid to unclog pores and reduce oiliness. Next, apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to hydrate your skin without adding extra grease. Consider using a spot treatment on any active acne or blemishes. Lastly, before bed, apply a thin layer of oil-free or gel-based night cream to help balance oil production while you sleep.
How do you take care of oily skin everyday?
To take care of oily skin everyday, start by cleansing your face twice a day with a gentle, oil-free cleanser. Use oil-free or gel-based products that won’t clog pores. Apply a good sunscreen to protect your skin. We do strongly recommend the use oil-absorbing sheets throughout the day to control excess oil. It’s best to not use heavy, pore-clogging makeup and hydrate your skin with a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer.
How can I maintain my oily skin naturally?
The mantra is simple: Cleanse, Hydrate, Exfoliate!
Opt for natural exfoliants like sugar or oatmeal. Our team at The Gaggler recommends natural exfoliating recipes:
Use a Sugar Scrub: Mix equal parts of brown sugar and coconut oil. Gently massage onto damp skin in circular motions, then rinse off with warm water.
We love a good Oatmeal Scrub: Combine ground oatmeal, honey, and a few drops of lemon juice. Apply to your face, let it sit for a few minutes, then gently scrub and rinse off.
Weekend Coffee Grounds Scrub: Mix used coffee grounds with a bit of olive oil or honey. Massage onto the skin in circular motions, then rinse off.
The Famous Baking Soda Scrub: Create a paste by mixing baking soda with water. Apply to damp skin and gently rub in small circular motions before rinsing off.
A controlled diet is always recommended. It’s best to consume a balanced diet with less greasy or fried foods, as they can contribute to oiliness.
Staying hydrated is the secret sauce to great skin regardless of the skin type Drink enough water to keep your skin hydrated from within, which can help balance oil production. Try our latest water bottles to help you reach that 2 litre goal!
The Gaggler team is passionate about finding and sharing great products with our readers. We take pride in researching and testing products to find the best of the best, and we only recommend things that we love and think you will, too.
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