Ever spent the weekend at the beach? After a few days in a bathing suit, chances are you experienced that not-so-fresh feeling. But despite what your mother told you, the discomfort may not be caused by a damp suit, but rather the fabric itself.Say, what? Bear with us. Because of over-exposure, latex allergies are nearing epidemic levels: According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, between one and six percent of the population is allergic to the stuff, which can cause skin irritations, rashes, and more.
So what does this have to do with your bikini? Most swimsuits are made out of potentially allergy-inducing latex—along with petrochemical-based nylon, the production of which creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide. But we digress.
With summer round the corner, we sussed out latex-free, sustainably made suits for all shapes and sizes. Some do include a small percentage of man-made spandex, which keeps the fabric on your body rather than at the bottom of your next wave. (That percentage stands between you and banishment to the pervy nude beach your parents always warned you about.) But back to the latex: It’s not like you’re going to go into anaphalactic shock from wearing a run ‘o the mill swimsuit, but with eco-swimwear this sexy, why take the risk?
Looking for something itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie? Deux FM’s got you—just barely—covered, with the Panther style, a traditional string bikini crafted from soy and organic cotton, available at Nimli.com.
Gold stars to Loyale for the sexy-yet-flattering tie-front top and ruffled edges of their organic cotton Hermosa Bikini (pictured above), which takes the virginal-yet-sexy look just one sustainable step further. Wear the top with your Daisy Dukes and see who gets to ride shotgun in General Lee.
Lina Rennell has cornered the market on what looks to be summer’s hottest trend. Surprisingly sexy, these long-legged, halter-necked, organic cotton one-piece suits—hand printed and sewn in Northern California and available at Beklina.com—are as at home on the beach as they are in a yoga studio. Wear it with one of Lina’s organic cotton headscarves for a full-on ‘70s vibe.
With its Farrah-worthy center ring and removable tie, Kelly B’s Amanda one-piece has been a bestseller since we first wrote about it in 2007. Available at eco-retailer Nimli.com, now Kelly’s sexy suits are made of faster-drying organic cotton and bamboo, and the new styles come in colors, too!
Don’t make us say it again: Chemical sunscreens like PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) and oxybenzone are absorbed into the bloodstream, break down in the sun and offer far less protection than their labels declare, according to the Environmental Working Group. We like products that eschew these and other nasties—like parabens, articiial colors and fragrances—and utilize zinc and titanium dioxide to provide a physical barrier that no longer leaves you with big white splotches on your nose.
Eco-famous in Europe and now available at Target, Lavera’s new Anti-Aging Sun Screen SPF 15 is an ultra light moisturizer and makeup primer that also happens to include a zinc and titanium based SPF. Bonus!
Don’t you hate that feeling of chemical sunscreen in your eyes? Available, at Nimli.com, AZUR Face & Body SPF 40 is natural, chemical-free solar protection that’s safe to use all over—even around the peepers.
Finally, for you surf divas, Kiss My Face’s new Sports Spray SPF 50 utilizes zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, cooling aloe and cucumber to create a sweat-resistant spray with maximum protection, but our old stand-by is Kiss My Face Kids Sun Stick SPF 30, which goes on clear or blue, so you can see where you need more.