You’re told time and time again that sunscreen is what will prevent UV ray damage if your skin is exposed for too long. While that’s true, the type of sunscreen you buy might actually be more dangerous than at first glance.
Is slathering on sunscreen before you go outside enough to protect your skin? If you think the answer is “yes”, then you’ll be surprised to know that you’ve actually got it wrong. Sunscreen does protect theskin and prevent UV rays from causing it damage, but the ingredients in your favorite brands may contain chemicals that are secretly harming your health.
In most sunscreen products, there are mineral and chemical fillers that are meant to penetrate the skin in order to allow the sunscreen to stay on your body. As a result, these same ingredients can be absorbed and detected in elevated amounts in your blood, urine, or even breast milk. T
his has experts and consumers alike asking questions about just how harmful the following chemicals actually are.
Oxybenzone, one of the primary ingredients found in sunscreen, is linked to a number of issues such as eczema, skin allergies, the production of harmful free radicals. In high doses, it also might contribute to breast cancer.
Even though companies are only approved to use 6% of oxybenzone in your sunscreen, it’s best to find an alternative that doesn’t have it at all.
Source: Evgeny Atamanenko
Octinoxate is another chemical to watch out for. Though it isn’t linked to allergy flare ups, it does cause hormone disruptions in the body. The effect of octinoxate in humans dampens estrogen production, and can help speed along the aging of your skin.
Source: Monika Wisniewska
Paraben Preservatives (ingredients associated with the prefixes of butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, and propyl-) are also are known to cause allergic reactions and hormone disruption. However, these chemicals are specifically associated with developmental and reproductive toxicity.
Both adult and children’s sunscreen manufacturers are guilty of including these harmful ingredients in their products. It’s surprising just how many chemicals companies add to their sunscreens without also disclosing the known health risks.
Sunscreen may not necessarily smell like anything to you, but most of them actually contain artificial fragrances. The number of chemicals used to simulate different smells in sunscreen can reach 1,500 different compounds, but are usually listed with the term “artificial fragrance” on the bottle.
The fragrances in sunscreen have been linked to complicating certain nerve system disorders. In extreme cases, even been birth defects that have been linked to these chemicals.
The issues surrounding sunscreen usage are quite alarming, but can be avoided if you’re ready to start reading the bottle and pick up different brands (some of which you currently may have to buy online). Ethical companies are beginning to craft products that eliminate the problems associated with many sunscreens. Organic products contain more ingredients that are natural, most of which actually help benefit your skin the way it’s intended to.
While sunscreen is important for the health of your skin, it’s also important to arm yourself with the knowledge you need when picking out what brand to buy. By keeping an eye on the ingredients of your sunscreen, you can ensure that you have a sunburn-free summer while also not sacrificing your help.