I have a confession. I love the smell of Coppertone. Despite the fact that I know that is one hell of a toxic fragrance, I love it because it brings back happy memories of exhilarating beach days and fun afternoons at our community pool. Regardless, I still don’t use it because there is no way I’m slathering those toxins on me or my kids.
I have gone so non toxic with all my products that now I am extremely sensitive to the toxic scent of synthetic fragrance. I can detect the scent a mile away and I usually cannot stand the smell but Coppertone is the exception.
One question I’m often asked is, “what sunscreen should I use,” because by now, most of know that the chemicals in most sunscreens pose serious health risks. Even mainstream western doctors admit that the chemicals found in most brands are dangerous.
One important thing to remember is that you need to wear sunscreen every single day of the year, even when it’s cloudy. The sun hits you through the window while you’re driving and even comes through the windows of your home.
I’ve written about this several times over the years. I like to do a refresh on the topic as summer approaches when we’ll be slathering our bodies and our kid’s bodies with sunscreen.
The safest sunblock is non-nanoparticle zinc oxide but if you’re curious about the common sunscreen ingredients that you should avoid, here is a rundown:
8 Ingredients You Do Not Want In Your Sunscreen
This hormone disruptor penetrates the skin, enters the bloodstream and behaves as estrogen in the body. It’s been shown to cause cell damage that promotes cancer, allergic reactions and even endometriosis.
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. Octinoxate and octisalate are neurotoxins that have even been shown to cause Petit Mal seizures.
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.
The FDA does not conduct any safety testing on sunscreen. It is completely unregulated so manufacturers can use any ingredients they want.
You’ll also find parabens listed as methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. They are found in many cosmetics as well as sunscreen. Like oxybenzone, parbens mimic the body’s natural hormones increasing the risk of various cancers.
Would you like help on how to avoid other toxins or to discuss health or weight concerns? Book your complimentary call today!
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.
Causes organ system toxicity and dispruts sex hormones in animal studies.
The sunblocking ingredient you want in your sunscreen is zinc oxide made without nanotechnology. Zinc is a physical sunblock which means it reflects light back into the environment. Your skin basically does not see the sun.
Nanoparticles have been shown to cross the cell barrier driving into organs, even attaching to brain cells. They’ve also caused developmental issues in animals. Mineral sunscreens are often made with nanotechnology.
In addition to harming your health, these toxins also harm marine life. The coral reefs are being damaged and killed off. This is a major issue. Many clean sunscreens brands will say ‘reef safe’ on the bottle. If it’s safe for the beautiful coral reefs, it will be for us.
So what can we use?! Sunscreen that doesn’t have these harmful ingredients. If depends on your skin type, personal preference and how green you want to go. Do you want to completely pure and plant-based or are you OK with a few safe synthetics? Several trusted clean beauty brands make nontoxic sunscreen. I offer clients help in deciding based on skin type, needs, budget and preferences.
As with all personal care and beauty products, there’s no one size fits all but here are some good general recommendations:
- Coola (great under makeup)
- MyChelle Dermaceuticals (love this under makeup one too)
- Pure Haven (their whole line is great)
- 100% Pure
- Acure (great budget friendly line)
- Mad Hippie
- Ever (this one has nice shades if you want tinted sunscreen)
- 100% Pure (love their whole line)
- Josh Rosbrook
- These are good for beach days and kids, a bit heavy under makeup: Block Island Organics, Badger and Babo Botanicals
**Want to make shopping for cosmetics, beauty & personal care products for you & your family easier? Grab my list of Top 12 Toxic Ingredients to avoid**
We need sunlight. A deficiency in vitamin D3 causes a whole host of severe illnesses including. Recent studies are revealing that avoiding the sun blocks our body’s ability to produce vitamin D3.
It’s even more beneficial to get that natural vitamin D barefoot with your feet in the sand, grass, or dirt so you’re getting those wonderful grounding negative ions.
Do you know someone who is looking for safe sunscreen? Send this their way and share it on Facebook, tweet it, Pin, it. Everyone needs safe sunscreen! These 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.
“… some sunscreens are known to interfere with hormone action… could plausibly increase the risk of various cancers” -Thomas Zoeller, Endocrine Society
Quick question: how can you tell if a mineral sunscreen was made using nanotechnology? Thanks for the great breakdown!
That is a great question, it’s not always easy to tell. Fortunately, more companies are now stating non-nano on the packaging. If they don’t, I call them & ask!