According to Algotherm, almost 25,000 tons of sun cream are estimated to be spread across the Earth’s oceans every year – about 0.8 litre per second. The problem is, some of the UV filters used to protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays are suspected of having a negative impact on marine biodiversity, and coral in particular. According to some studies, 10 % of the world’s coral reefs may be threatened by the impact of sun creams. In light of this hypothesis, not only the disappearance of these corals is at stake, but the whole related ecosystem is in danger.
Marine and plant complex
For the launching of Algosun, its new and first sun care range for several years, Algotherm decided to deal with this problem firmly, and thus developed a non-ecotoxic formula. “As a marine cosmetic brand, we are obviously one of the first concerned,” explains Stéphanie Motier, Communication Manager.
The new range is composed of three sun protection products, an SPF 50+ Age Protect Sun Cream, an SPF 30 Age Protect Sun Lotion and an SPF 20 Age Protect Sun Oil, as well as two after-sun care products, a Repair Moisturizing Fluid face & Body and a Repair Sublime Oil Body & Hair. At the core of the formulas lies a patented marine and plant complex which combines karanja vegetable oil derived from the Pongamia tree (pongamia pinnata) – an Indian tree renowned for its skin protecting and antibacterial properties – and red seaweed (porphyra umbilicalis) exhibiting anti-aging properties thanks to its natural protection against the harmful effects of sun rays. The complex also contributes to the anti-UVA and anti-UVB protection of the products.
In order to “limit the impacts on the marine ecosystem”, the Algosun range was formulated only with mineral filters – titanium dioxide and zinc oxide –, and no nanoparticles. The brand also chose not to use any parabens or phenoxyethanol.
In addition, extensive research work was conducted to assess the safety of the formulations for the marine environment, and in particular for seaweed and coral. “The products were subjected to a series of tests destined to verify their environmental impact,” underlines Émilie Simon, R&D Manager at Algotherm. “Among others, we followed the OECD assessment methods to evaluate the biodegradability or toxicity on seaweed, for instance, and adapted them to the marine environment,” she adds. Thanks to the help of the Gelyma laboratory, which is specialized in the study of algae and marine environments, a specific test involving the creation of a marine microenvironment in an aquarium was even developed.
In order to highlight and support their own efforts in terms of environmental protection, Algotherm has concluded a three-year partnership with French TV magazine Thalassa, which has been broadcast on the France 3 channel since 1975. A cardboard insert has been slipped into all the products destined for sale to raise public awareness of the problems related to sun care product toxicity for the marine environment, and to support the development of exclusive formulations.