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Old 23-04-2018, 09:15   #16
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

I am not a chemist. So consider the following with a splash of salt water.

I suspect the problem with some sunscreens and bug spray is the chemical vehicle used to apply the active ingredient chemicals.

I also suspect that the effect may differ due to different plastics (not all the same) and type of exposure and quantity. So, one person's anecdote may not mean much, if another person has a different type of plastic or chemical solution/spray.

For example, I purchased a spray bottle of Banana Boat Sport sunscreen spray (SPF 100). I wanted this because I hate greasy feeling mineral oil based sunscreen lotions. Following the directions on the bottle, I did NOT spray my face. I sprayed into my palm, then used my hand to apply this to my nose and checks and ears (vulnerable to burning) and neck. It did work very effectively as a sunscreen.

The spray bottle has numerous warnings on it, including NOT using it near any flames (more on that below) and NOT spraying it directly onto the face and NOT inhaling the spray and MUST spray in a well ventilated area.

The reason is simple: the propellant is butane (Isobutane) that changes from liquid to highly flammable gas, and the active ingredients are suspended in a solvent (Denatured Alcohol) which is also highly flammable. When sprayed, it smells like old fashioned hair spray (which was also highly flammable).

Put simply, don't spray this around a flame!

I suspect that the alcohol and butane can be a solvent mix that destroys some of the plastics mentioned earlier.

Will a mineral oil based solution or lotion do the same? I don't know.

This topic concerns me because my foul weather jacket has some rubber on the internal cuffs (intended to cinch them down to prevent water from going up one's sleeve). I suspect that rubber coating would be destroyed by solvents, such as the ones in some of these sunscreen sprays or bug sprays.

I also wonder how the aerosol or liquids may affect other plastics, including waterproof membranes on clothing.

The mention of melting plastics on eyeglasses is noteworthy too. Some sailors have very expensive optics (prescription glasses or sunglasses) with plastic lenses.

Earlier this year I recall reading some posts about melting plastics on binoculars. Perhaps that too was caused by exposure to these oils or solvents when sunscreen was applied to hands and then later those hands came in contact with the rubber on the binoculars (or chartplotter switches, etc.). Something to consider.

Perhaps a chemist or chemical engineer member of CF can provide us with some more guidelines.

I seem to recall someone (CF Member) mentioned the plasticizers aging in the binoculars and other rubber/plastic items that deteriorated, but I wonder if the frequent use and contact with bug spray solvents and sunscreen solvents and vehicles (the stuff that carries the active ingredients) has an affect too.
______________

Banana Boat Sport Spray 100 SPF Ingredients:

Safety Warning
For external use only.
Flammable: Do not puncture or incinerate. Contents under pressure. Do not store at temperatures above 120 degrees F. Do not use in the presence of a flame or spark. Keep away from sources of ignition - no smoking. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal.
Do not use on damaged or broken skin.
When using this product: Keep away from face to avoid breathing it. Keep out of eyes. Rinse with water to remove.
Stop use and ask a doctor if rash occurs.
Keep out of reach of children. If product is swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away.
May stain some fabrics.

Ingredients
Active Ingredients - Purpose. Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalate 10.0%, Octisalate 5.0%, Octocrylene 10.0%, Oxybenzone 6.0% - Sunscreen.
Inactive Ingredients: Alcohol Denat., Isobutane, VA/Butyl Maleate/Isobornyl Acrylate Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate/Isostearate/Dimer Dilinoleate Copolymer, Lauryl PEG-8 Dimethicone, Phenylisopropyl Dimethicone, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Hydrogenated Methyl Abietate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Mineral Oil, Panthenol, Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Fragrance.
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Old 23-04-2018, 10:10   #17
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

Quote: "Sunblockers that contain inert minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide might be less harmful to plastics"

I have found this to be true, but they are harder to find than the chemical type. Badger zinc oxide lip balm works for me. And Blue Lizard for face, but Blue Lizard stains if you spill it. By the way, if anyone knows of a better zinc / titanium oxide lip balm, please let me know - I'd really like something that goes on thicker, but haven't found it yet.

Other than that, to minimize sunscreen use I've gone to covering up with ventilated PFG shirts, hats, and ventilated long pants. I may start using a buff for my face on offshore passages this year. Having had four large to medium-sized basal cell skin cancers removed, I maybe think more about this than others. With the covering up approach, I end up only putting sunscreen only on cheeks, chin, nose. And I wear sailing gloves.

And the comment about DEET is absolutely true - it will melt plastic. Kind of scary, so as a result I've moved to non-Deet solutions, and Repel is highly effective: https://www.amazon.com/REPEL-Eucalyp.../dp/B004N59OFU My son used Repel for six months on the Appalachian Trail, and he swears by it - you can also look at what Consumer Reports has to say about Repel - it works.
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Old 23-04-2018, 11:27   #18
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

Sunscreens are the bane of the crewed charter industry. Most of us forbid, yes, forbid, any sprays. A lot of us have found the Nutragena Dry Touch doesn't seem to mark cushions, or much of anything else. It's the only thing allowed on my boat.

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Old 23-04-2018, 12:24   #19
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

sunscreens for me are semi occlusive coverings such as sold in home depot as garden screens.. i use black and green and i have some beige. hypoallergenic and helps keep many flying jaws types of insects out of my cockpit and boat. they have zero or less than zero chemical interaction with anything or anyone and do the job just fine.
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Old 23-04-2018, 16:11   #20
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

Well .... (big suncreen user, big bugspray user, habitual avoider of chemicals) - I just learned something I'd never considered.
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Old 23-04-2018, 16:27   #21
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

Fisherman have known DEET melts tackle boxes for generations. I was taught that 50 years ago.

Sounds like a good Practical Sailor test. Try hand-prints of favorite products on clear vinyl. Also around latex rubber (disposable gloves will do).

  • We know that DEET will melt clear vinyl on contact; you can't wipe it off fast enough, since this takes only a few seconds. I always keep a washcloth near the helm to wipe hands.
  • Many sunscreen will leave a nice hand print if not washed off with soap very quickly. and I do not allow any aerosols on board (bug spray or sunscreen).
  • I've never used sunscreen or bug spray around a dry suit, since mostly it is cold weather and I'm covered up. I won't now!
Obviously we should test common brands of sunscreen.

  • Non-DEET bug juice. I know that catnip spray (good for biting flies) is vinyl-safe. Aerosols are always a separate problem, because the solvent is a risk, not just the stuff.
  • Other materials that are commonly sprayed on-deck, such as Sailkote.
  • I've tested Sunbrella waterproofing treatments; none were bad on vinyl. Cleaners in general are OK if they don't dry.
  • Other ideas?
BTW, I've had clear vinyl samples on my roof, treated with various waxes and cleaners, for 5 years. Report soon. One take-away is that aggressive polishing can shorten the life.
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Old 23-04-2018, 18:40   #22
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

After nearly 30 years of live-aboard life, we've personally tested most of the products out there for protection from the sun and bugs. In a final analysis, we've arrived at the conclusion that putting anything on our skin is the least desirable option.

Sun protection. While in the sun, we always cover up completely - Columbia PFG shirts and pants with high SPF coverage, wide-brimmed hats, plus, polarizing sun glasses (to prevent macular degeneration)... and we don't forget to cover our hands with gloves (typically we use bicycling gloves as we are either biking, paddling, sailing, or dinghying - and all those activities also benefit from the improved grip).

Insects. We love our Craghoppers Nosilife Ultimate hats; the fabric is sun-blocking plus repels mosquitoes even after many washings. The netting keeps irritating flying insects away and can be tucked inside, out of the way, when not needed. OK, these look really dorky, but they do work (particularly against nagging Aussie flies)! Craghoppers also sells a complete line of Nosilife clothing that are created with the same sun-protective insect-repellent fabrics. We've tried a few of these but weren't too keen on the synthetic fabrics; we find 100% cotton more comfortable.

When hiking or coming ashore in non-urban areas, we spray our clothes and particularly our shoes and cuffs of long pants with a permethrin-based spray to discourage ticks and sand flies. After suffering through a horrific tick-borne disease (not Lyme) two years ago, we don't take any chances in this area. Lyme disease is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak; ticks, sand flies, and other insect vectors can impart a whole cocktail of pathogens with just one bite.

Sun and insect protection while on the boat. Painted Skies has a cockpit enclosure with mesh panels; the mesh allows airflow, provides excellent sun protection and privacy plus keeps most flying critters out. (Having said that, I found couple of Welcome Swallows hanging out inside the cockpit enclosure last week when I'd left the 'door' panel off). The boat is also equipped with screens on all opening hatches, portholes, and even the companionway which has a screen that easily zips open and closed (this is probably our favorite bit of canvas on the boat). When anchoring in areas where flying insects are a problem, we set up a Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller unit in the cockpit. It utilizes a widely-available gas canister (used by backpackers for their mini-stoves) and tiny repellent pads to set up a insect-free zone that is way larger than our cockpit. We also have a portable Thermacell unit that we can use while hiking, if needed.

Still, we do use sunscreen - on our faces in particular... because we simply don't have any other options for covering that area adequately from reflected light. I do hate the stuff; it seems to have migratory properties... eventually ending up in the eyes.

Cheers, Katherine
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Old 24-04-2018, 06:59   #23
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

I'm a big fan of Bullfrog gel. Dries instantly which may help with residue stains.
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Old 25-04-2018, 16:07   #24
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

1) +1 for Thermacell and Neutragena Dry Touch.

2) DAN has published several articles and updates regarding human and reef-safe sunscreens. This PADI article has more information and contains links to the DAN research: Scuba Diving and Sunscreen - Updated
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Old 25-04-2018, 18:21   #25
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

Try

https://www.rawelementsusa.com/
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Old 26-04-2018, 08:32   #26
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

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Use promocode “Tula” for 10% discount. Thanks to Bill, Sierra & Jetty from “Tula’s Endless Summer”!
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Old 26-04-2018, 14:15   #27
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

"Is there an effective sunscreen that does not damage plastics "
An oak tree perhaps?

I'm aware of the problem. There is a "range finder" actually a circular slide rule of sorts on my binocs, and a portion of that and the binoc case literally melted down many years ago thanks to these wonderful goos.

If you wanted to be objective about it, subscribe online or ask your local librarian. About one or two years ago Consumer Reports did a whole sunblock review. Take the products listed as most effective for whichever type (spray, lotion) you prefer, and then call each maker to find out about plastics, and if the current formula is the same.

I also have some to prefer 'cover up', using long sleeve lightweight shirts and light nylon long pants rather than the goo, which is mainly for my head and hands now.
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Old 30-04-2018, 10:44   #28
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/?gclid...B#.WudVuYjwbIU
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Old 13-05-2018, 17:58   #29
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

Quote:
Originally Posted by LongGone View Post
1) +1 for Thermacell and Neutragena Dry Touch.

2) DAN has published several articles and updates regarding human and reef-safe sunscreens. This PADI article has more information and contains links to the DAN research: Scuba Diving and Sunscreen - Updated
I just noticed I left out something important in my original reply. I meant to put "... and -1 for Neutragena Dry Touch."

Neutragena Dry Touch includes the following active ingredients: Avobenzone 3% (sunscreen), Homosalate 15% (sunscreen), Octisalate 5% (sunscreen), Octocrylene 10% (sunscreen), Oxybenzone 6% (sunscreen). The US CDC and the EWG identify Oxybenzone as a hormone (that is especially concerning for women), with EWG giving it its highest "hazard rating" for major sunscreen components. DAN studies show that Oxybenzone is also very harmful to coral.
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Old 14-05-2018, 02:20   #30
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Re: Is there a sunscreen that does not affect plastics

Quote:
Originally Posted by LongGone View Post
... The US CDC and the EWG identify Oxybenzone as a hormone (that is especially concerning for women), with EWG giving it its highest "hazard rating" for major sunscreen components. DAN studies show that Oxybenzone is also very harmful to coral.
Thanks, LongGone. Good info'.
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