Six Senses bans toxic sunscreens, introduces environment-friendly sun products

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, which runs the Six Senses Laamu resort in Maldives, has announced a brand-wide ban on all toxic sunscreens, and embracing environmentally-friendly and biologically-safer alternatives.

As of September 1, 2019, all Six Senses properties will be compliant with providing only sun products that do not pose a threat to marine ecosystems. Whether in the urban setting of Six Senses Singapore, the verdant wine terraced hills of Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal, or the turquoise-blue waters of the Maldives at Six Senses Laamu, the new high-quality sun products will be available for guests through purchase at all spas and boutiques.

“We’re proud to be the first hotel group to feature a selection of environmentally-safe sun products throughout our organisation. We undertook extensive research in selecting the best products on the market that are not only good for the land and ocean, but good for us too. We know that what we put on our skin ends up in our bodies. Multiple studies around the world have examined sunscreen use and the results have shown that significant penetration of toxic chemicals agents into the skin can result in cancer. It was our goal in mandating that all hotels and resorts use the new products that we provide our guests with the healthiest sun products available and that we do the right thing for the earth too,” Anna Bjurstam, Wellness Poneer at Six Senses, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

All approved sunscreens have been recognised as 100 per cent reef-safe, passing safety measures established by Environmental Working Group and the latest scientific research on coral reef health. Six Senses has also selected products that use plant-based or fully compostable packaging.

Six Senses has engaged with a dozen brands and over 50 products that meet the established criteria for environmental and human health, with the list growing as more products are found. Six Senses is hoping to use this initiative to not only create an environment of safety for biological communities, but also as a learning environment for guests as they become more aware of safer options. For guests, communication will be shared prior to arrival, informing them of the group’s commitment and suggesting options for use during their stay.

Guest who choose a diving experience will be educated by the Green Fins education material that will be installed in all diving shops. Green Fins is a United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and Regional Seas programme tool for sustainable tourism in dive operations and water behaviour that strives to ensure conservation of coral reefs.

According to marine conservation NGO Marine Life, there may be up to 82,000 different chemicals from personal products entering the oceans, particularly around areas popular with swimmers and divers. Most sunscreen products are comprised of synthetic chemical ingredients such as Oxybenzone, one of the most hazardous chemicals. Introducing these compounds into the marine environment, along with the current state of ocean acidification and climate change, causes significant damage to corals. This includes a breakdown of defences against bleaching, damaged DNA, deformities in younger corals, and disrupted endocrine (hormone) systems which ultimately cause toxic concentrations in the aquatic organisms.

Most coral reef-safe sunscreens contain the active ingredients of non-nano zinc oxide and titanium oxide, protecting the skin by reflecting UVA and UVB rays off the skin like a mirror. These ingredients are not absorbed into skin easily, and as a result provide a longer period of protection for sunbathers and outdoor enthusiasts.

In the Maldives, Six Senses runs the award-winning Six Senses Laamu resort — the only resort in the pristine Laamu atoll. Most of the villas and facilities are built overwater, however beach villas and on-land dining are an option. All villas offer a sense of privacy and seclusion, with an amazing view to the ocean and Maldivian nature.

Six Senses Laamu offers a wide range of dining options, with cuisines from around the world, an ice cream parlor, an overwater wine cellar and a signature Chill bar. Many activities, excursions and options are available for everyone to enjoy, both over water and underwater, in addition to the Six Senses Spa.

Six Senses Laamu hosts one of the largest teams of marine biologists in the Maldives, the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI). Staff from Six Senses Laamu and its three partner NGOs: Manta Trust, Blue Marine Foundation and Olive Ridley Project work together under the banner of MUI and seek to lead the tourism industry in the Maldives with meaningful marine conservation efforts based on research, education and community outreach.

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