Compare TOP
health insurance quotes

Get a free quote and start saving now!

7 Harmful Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

by Staci Marks on May 31, 2012

It’s almost that time of the year: the days are getting hotter and the sun is getting stronger. The need for a healthy and effective sunscreen is greater than ever. Unfortunately, many sunscreens on the market contain toxic chemicals that can be potentially dangerous. While getting moderate doses of Vitamin D from the sun is ideal, prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays have long been known to lead to skin cancer. To reap the many benefits of sunscreen without the harmful side effects, avoid these following ingredients:

  1. Oxybenzone

    According to The Environmental Working Group, 56% of sunscreens contain this penetration enhancer (helps other chemicals penetrate the skin). This chemical can cause an eczema-related allergic reaction that may spread beyond the applied area. There have been many toxicological studies conducted to test for hormone altercations that throw off your endocrine system as a result of oxybenzone absorption. The Environmental Working Group also links this chemical to cell damage that may lead to skin cancer.

  2. Homosalate

    Similar to oxybenzone, this UV-absorbing chemical can mimic bodily hormones. Since our bodies cannot dispel this chemical to match the rate of absorption, it accumulates to toxic levels over time.

  3. Paraben Preservatives

    There have been many reports of serious chronic and acute side effects associated with Paraben preservatives. Derived from plant and petroleum sources, these preservatives may cause irritation and allergic reactions. More importantly, the chronic effects of Paraben use are known to disrupt and mimic hormones and cause reproductive toxicity. As a suspected carcinogen, it has connections with breast tumors, skin cell damage, and oxidative stress on the body’s tissues, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

  4. Octocrytene

    As a synthetic UV absorber and sunscreen agent, when exposed to UV rays, this chemical may produce oxygen radicals that cause cell mutation. It may accumulate in our bodies in measurable amounts, resulting in increased production of free radicals that are known to induce indirect DNA damage. According to the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, octocrytene may have contributed to the increased occurrence of malignant melanoma in sunscreen-users when compared to non-users.

  5. Retinyl Palmitate

    A from of vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, may speed up the development of skin tumors when applied in the presence of sunlight. This data was recently made available from an FDA study that tested lab animals coated in vitamin A cream for development of tumors and lesions. As much as 25% of all sunscreens contain vitamin A retinyl palmitate because it is an anti-oxidant, according to the same FDA study. Until more concrete evidence can be conducted, the Environmental Working Group recommends avoiding sunscreens with vitamin A (look for “retinyl palmitate” or “retinol”) on the label.

  6. Octinoxate

    The most widely used sunscreen ingredient, octinoxate helps other ingredients be absorbed more readily. According to the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption, studies show strong evidence of this chemical disrupting the endocrine system by altering hormones. The chemical’s effects on estrogen levels are harmful for humans and wildlife, especially when the chemical seeps into water. While SPF products are designed to decrease sun-induced aging, octinoxate may actually be the main culprit for premature aging, as it produces free radicals that attack skin cells. As a penetration enhancer, this chemical continues to be one of the most common ingredients found in sunscreens with SPF — double check labels before buying.

  7. Artificial Scent

    Many people dislike the smell of sunscreen and buy ones with added scent. These sunscreens are normally listed as “parfums” that contain artificial musks. Many allergic reactions have been linked to scented sunscreens, including reddened skin and eyes, topical lesions, and difficulty breathing. Those with asthma should especially choose scent-free sun creams. Many artificial scents may even disrupt hormones, stimulating human estrogen receptors. These artificial musks also have an environmental impact — they have been found to be toxic to aquatic life, as measurable quantities accumulate in the food chain.

Related posts:

  1. Are Sunscreens Safe?
  2. 7 Most Harmful Body Pollutants in Your Beauty Products
Share This...

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: