Is Your Sunscreen Toxic?

woman sunscreenIt’s that time of year when we all start enjoying the weather outside, but did you know that 4 different studies conducted in the 1990’s indicated a higher risk of malignant melanoma among individuals who used the most sunscreen!

According to research from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), more than 75% of the sunscreens tested contained toxic chemicals that can increase your risk of cancer and other health issues.

The findings from the EWG research conclude that some sunscreen ingredients may:

  • Absorb into the blood
  • Release free radicals in sunlight
  • Act like estrogen
  • Disrupt hormones
  • Cause allergic reactions
  • Cause skin irritation
  • Have no rigorous safety standards

A recent study published in Environmental Science Technology has also shown the common sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, and PABA to be estrogenic chemicals linked to cancer.

Beware of non-mineral, conventional sunscreens

Non-mineral sunscreens penetrate the skin, are potentially disruptive to hormones, are allergenic, and can release free radicals when they break down. Oxybenzone is the most common ingredient found in sunscreens. Scientists recommend not using sunscreens containing oxybenzone on children because of this hormone disruption.

What to Buy?

Mineral sunscreens are ones containing zinc, or titanium.  These do not breakdown in sunlight, are not usually absorbed (so do not disrupt the body’s hormones), are not allergenic and are more effective at blocking UVA rays than non-minerals.  These sunscreens are a good choice for children and according to EWG have the best safety profiles of the choices in the United States.

When buying sunscreen, you can check the EWG database. Two top recommendations are, Kiss My Face SPF 30 and Aubrey Organics SPF 30 Children’s Unscented Sensitive Skin. These healthier sunscreens contain Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide as a more natural form of sunblock.

The Benefits of the Sun
In truth, the sun is essential for your health. Getting a moderate amount of sunshine daily can actually help decrease your risk of certain types of cancers. When you get approximately 20 minutes of direct sunlight, your body naturally generates enough Vitamin D3 (Calciferol), and your body also knows the right amount to generate without overdose. Be sure to cover up with light clothing before you get burnt when getting direct sunlight.

Vitamin D3 has been one of the most researched nutrients over the past 5 years and it has been shown to naturally help boost the immune system, help fight cancer and improve mood.