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Beach season is here!
It’s that time of the year again! Time to really think about SUNSCREEN. Shocking news is that most sun lotions in the market contain chemicals, which are bad for you and your family, the good news is that I have a list of twenty products right here for you, and you can check how your sunscreen measures up.
Read more about the safety concerns and sun lotions, and then see is your sun lotion on the safe side – if not, consider changing, you can never be too safe, right?
I read a very interesting article (CDC Finds 97 Percent of Americans Contaminated by Sunscreens) at Natural News this morning. The article was written by Ellen Holder, co-founder of Caren, an online store for natural, organic and synthetic chemical free skin care products. One sentence in particular crabbed my attention “And interestingly, as sunscreen sales have risen, so has the rate of skin cancers.”
What? Shouldn’t sunscreen protect us from skin cancer?
According to The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) recent study nearly all Americans are contaminated with with oxybenzone, a common ingredient in sunscreens. Environmental Working Group (EWG) identifies nearly 600 sunscreens sold in the U.S. that contain oxybenzone, including household brand names like Hawaiian Tropic, Coppertone, and Banana Boat. Oxybenzone has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage. Oxybenzone was also recently linked to low birth weight in baby girls whose mothers are exposed during pregnancy, according to a study from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.
What? Shouldn’t Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protect us from harmful chemicals like this?
The fact is that FDA last reviewed the safety of oxybenzone in the 1970s. At present, there aren’t any health-based standards for safe levels of oxybenzone in the body. Europe, Canada and Australia changed sunscreen regulations in 1997 though, and oxybenzone was banned and three other specific active sunscreen ingredients – avobenzone (also known as Parsol 1789), titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide – were recommended as the basis of sunscreens.
Doesn’t this make you wonder, why in the USA, the cosmetic companies are still using the chemicals banned in other countries?
EWG’s research shows that some sunscreens on the U.S. market:
– offer inadequate protection from the sun;
– may be less safe and effective than products offered in other countries;
– are labeled with misleading product claims;
– contain ingredients with significant safety concerns.
I had to investigate more and find out is there a way to be outdoors safely, with or without sun screen. On the bottom of this post I also gathered twenty sunscreens and their active ingredients. There are several safe ones to choose from!
There are also natural ways to protect yourself from sun, like adding more Vitamin D in your diet, or increasing your melanin production. Read more.
HOW DOES SUNBLOCK WORK?
Let’s get the terminology right first.
Sunscreen is a product with an SPF of 2 and higher.
SPF means Sun Protection Factor.
Sunblock is a barrier between your skin and sun, and there can be two kinds of barriers: physical and chemical. Products higher than SPF 12 are sunblock. Most products are mixtures of physical and chemical barriers.
Difference between physical and chemical barriers:
Physical barrier is not absobed by your skin, it just sits on the skin’s surface. Light is either absorbed into the sunblock material or reflected away from the body back into the atmosphere similar to a mirror or tin foil. Physical protectors, such as zinc oxide, reflect UVA rays.
Physical sunblock ingredients
(UVA and UVB protection, non-irritating, non-allergenic)
Recognized as a mild antimicrobial, wound healing and sunscreen agent. Primarily absorbs UVA light rather than scattering or reflecting, non-irritating, non-comedogenic, and micronized by forming many small micro particles for cosmetic use.
Derived from Titanium, a highly reflective white chalky mineral, non-irritating, non-comedogenic, micronized by forming many small micro particles for cosmetic use, listed in the FDA monograph as one the top and most effective active ingredients for sun protection.
A chemical barrier has the ability to be absorbed by the skin, sunlight is invalid upon contact. Most chemical protectors absorb UVB rays. Meaning: the chemicals absorb the UVB rays, so your skin does not do it. None of the chemicals absord the whole spectrum of of UV rays (like physical barriers do), so several different chemicals are needed to make a protective chemical barrier.
Chemical sunblock ingredients
There are total of almost twenty different chemicals used in sunscreens. The problem with these chemicals: your skin absorbs them, and the chemical itself can be harmful for you.
OXYBENZONE and OCTINOXATE
Why they are so popular:
Not just blocking the UVA rays by reflecting them, but they are also penetration enhancers, chemicals that help other chemicals penetrate the skin better. It makes all those other chemicals in the sunscreen to work better.
Both are linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity, can harm skin in the cell level, which can lead to several health problems, which are not widely researched yet. Oxybenzone is also linked to cancer and harming the immunesystem.
AVOBENZONE, also known as also known as Parsol 1789
Avobenzone absorbs UVA rays. Recommended in Europe, but there are some safety concerns about its safety too.
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT SUNBLOCK FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?
Thre are over 900 sun lotions in the market in the United States at the moment, and 86% them offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain chemicals which are harmful for you and your family. Seems like a mission impossible to try to find a sun lotion, which protects and fits in with your family’s needs. Luckily there are safe products, and I have the list of twenty sun lotions right here for you. Many of them are well-known brands you should not use anymore and plenty of great safe choices.
EWG investigated the sun lotions, and this is just a recap of their results.
LIST OF POPULAR SUNSCREENS AND THEIR ACTIVE INGREDIENTS
This list is also known as “DON’T BUY THESE SUN LOTIONS”
Alarming in these lotions: many of them are marketed for children, many have “Dermatologist recommended” text on the side of the bottle, many say “for sensitive skin” and “organic ingredients”.
Don not let these marketing pitches fool you.
Avon SKIN SO SOFT BUG GUARD PLUS IR3535® Gentle Breeze SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion :
(And recommended by American Skin Cancer Foundation, unbelievable!)
(This one: Pediatrician recommended)
Banana Boat Boat Baby Sunblock, Tear Free SPF 50
Titanium Dioxide 2.4%
Avobenzone (Parsol 1789)
CHOOSE FROM THESE SUN LOTIONS
Avobenzone (Parsol 1789)
PRICE: $6.50 (small tube)
Baby Blanket Sunscreen for Babies SPF 50+
2 Ethylhexyl Salicylate
Micronized Titanium Dioxide
Titanium dioxide 10%
Vanicream Sunscreen, Sensitive Skin, SPF 30
Titanium Dioxide 5%
Zinc Oxide 5%
Blue Lizard Sun lotion SPF 30 for Baby:
Titanium Dioxide 5%
Zinc Oxide 10%
Keys Solar Rx:
Nano Zinc Oxide
Badger Broad Spectrum UVA-UVB Protection:
Zinc Oxide 20.5%
Jason Natural Cosmetics Sun Care Mineral Based Physical Sunblock (SPF 30+) Sunbrellas 4 oz.:
Titanium Dioxide 8.0%
Zinc Oxide 2.5%
Clarins Sun Care Cream For Children SPF 30:
WANT TO PROTECT MORE FROM CHEMICALS IN PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS?
THIS LIST IS “TOXIC BAD GUYS”
made by TruKid Natural Skin Care Company.
The following ingredients have been linked to one or more of the following: cancer, neuro-damage, and developmental/reproductive toxicity. It’s a great idea to even print it out – who can remember these chemical names anyway!
(NOTE: THE FOLLOWING INGREDIENTS ARE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.)
1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – Can be found in 90% of products that lather.
2. Avobenzone – Can be found in sunscreen.
3. PABA and PABA esters – Can be found in lipstick; products with SPF; lip balm; skin fading/lightener; conditioner; facial moisturizer/treatment; moisturizer; styling gel/lotion.
4. Cinnamates, also seen as Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) – Can be found in sunscreen.
5. Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine – Can be found in foundation; sunscreen SPF 15 and above; hair color and bleaching; moisturizer.
6. Paraben preservatives (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Isobutyl) – Can be found in facial moisturizer/treatment; anti-aging moisturizer; facial cleanser, sunscreen SPF 15 and above; conditioner; eye shadow; hair color and bleaching; foundation; shampoo.
7. Polyethylene glycol (also listed as PEG) – Can be found in facial moisturizer or treatment; hair color and bleaching; anti-aging moisturizer; facial cleanser; conditioner; shampoo; styling gel/lotion; body wash/cleanser; antiperspirant/deodorant.
8. Phthalates (listed under fragrance) – Can be found in most products in the fragrance.
9. Benzophone, more commonly known as Oxybenzone – Can be found in sunscreen.
10. Formaldehyde derivatives – can be found in nail polish
CDC: Americans Carry Body Burden of Toxic Sunscreen Chemical, at EWG.
Oxybenzone, at 3Dchem.com
Sunblocks at 911skin.com
Sunscreen Summary — What Works and What’s Safe