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The Danger of Sunscreen & the Importance of Knowing What You Put on Your Skin

Make sure the chemicals in your sunscreen aren't linked to cancer, or contain endocrine disruptors,ESPECIALLY in children.


By Maranda Pleasant


Not all sunscreens are created equal, and in many cases sunscreen is harmful, not helpful. There are two ways that a sunscreen can protect the skin from sun damage: with a mineral barrier or a chemical one. Mineral sunscreens typically include ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which create a physical barrier to protect the skin from the sun. Chemical sunscreens use one or more chemicals including oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. These chemicals raise some special concerns because many are able to cross into skin and other tissue. With these chemicals, it is important to ask questions such as:

Will this cross the skin and get into other tissue in the body?

Does this chemical have the potential to disrupt hormones, especially in children?

Are there long-term or allergy reactions to these chemicals?

New research reveals that the chemicals commonly used in sunscreen are endocrine disruptors, estrogenic and may interfere with thyroid and other hormone processes in the body. YIKES! The most common sunscreen chemical, Oxybenzone, was found in 96% of the population by a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This is especially alarming since oxybenzone is considered an endocrine disruptor, can reduce sperm count in men and may contribute to endometriosis in women. *The EWG warns against using oxybenzone, especially on children or pregnant/breastfeeding women. Even more alarming?

Of the 1,400+ sunscreens tested by the EWG, only 5% met their safety standards and over 40% were listed as potentially contributing to skin cancer.

I found this really shocking. And disturbing. So what now? Look for the EWG green logo on products online to see if your sunscreen passes the test. Here’s to healthy, vibrant, protected skin this summer!

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