Hitting the beach, hangin’ poolside, heading to the lake… it’s what summer is all about. We all know how important it is to protect our skin while we’re soaking up the sun, however, like most personal care products, sunscreen often contains harmful chemicals that our bodies absorb.
Many ingredients are especially toxic to children and babies because their delicate systems are not fully developed so they have a harder time filtering out toxins. The FDA does not conduct any safety testing on sunscreen. It is completely unregulated so manufacturers can use any ingredients they want. Does your sunscreen contain any of the following ingredients?
This hormone disruptor penetrates the skin, enters the bloodstream and behaves as estrogen in the body. They have been shown to cause cell damage that promotes cancer.
4-MBC is a chemical that chemical enters the bloodstream and behaves as estrogen in the body as well. It’s also been linked to cancer. Both 4-MBC and oxybenzone are such dangerous hormone disruptors that scientists are urging parents to refrain from using any product containing either on children but it’s found in most sunscreens, even those made especially for babies.
3. Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate)
This widely used sunscreen ingredient disrupts thyroid hormone, affects brain signaling and lab tests show that is kills mouse cells when exposed to sunlight, even at low doses.
Also known as Parsol 1789 and butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane. It generates free radicals in the body and has also been cited as an endocrine disruptor. It is unstable and sunlight causes it to break down into unknown chemicals, especially when used with octinoxate.
5. Retinyl palmitate
This is a form of vitamin A. It is an antioxidant that slows the aging process in skin which is fine for use in night creams. However, a study done by the FDA discovered a connection to cancer because it may accelerate growth in tumors and skin lesions when exposed to sunlight which makes it a dangerous ingredient for sunscreen.
You’ll also find parabens listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. They are found in most cosmetics as well as sunscreen. Like oxybenzone, parbens mimic the body’s natural hormones increasing the risk of various cancers.
7. Padimate O (Octyl Dimethyl PABA / PABA Ester)
This damages DNA, releases free radicals, mimics estrogen and causes allergies in some people.
This is one of the most commonly found ingredients in sunscreens. It is known to cause cancer in lab animals
It’s just not necessary to use toxic sunscreen because there are many safe alternatives. Look for one that contains zinc oxide made without nanotechnology. The sunscreen report put out by The Environmental Working Group is a solid resource for safe sunscreen, check it out and see how yours rates. Next week I’ll recommend some safer options and talk about the sunscreen brands I like so check back.
Help inform your friends – tweet this, share it on Facebook & send it to friends, especially those with kids, they really should not be using sunscreen with these harmful chemicals.
“… some sunscreens are known to interfere with hormone action… could plausibly increase the risk of various cancers” -Thomas Zoeller, Endocrine Society