The main and most important fact about sunscreen is that despite the overuse of moderate to super high SPF sun protectants, the number of people suffering from malignant melanoma of the skin continues to rise each year. After all the hype about dermatologist warning and urging us to use sunscreen, the higher SPF the better, it has been determined, that not only do sunscreens fail to protect us against cancer, they may actually increase it. Sunscreen chemicals harm humans, fish and coral. Absorbed through the skin, they disrupt our body’s balanced ecosystem. Biocalculating in fish, they disrupt both freshwater and marine ecosystems.
According to the research, many sunscreens only protect against UVB rays. These UVB rays are the ones that cause the burning sensation on the epidermis, or outer layer of the skin. Protecting against these rays does indeed stop the burning sensation and coloring effect, but it gives a false sense of safety as it encourages people to stay in the sun longer. Many sunscreens do not stop the sun’s UVA and infra-red rays. These other rays penetrate into deeper layers of tissue and are more strongly linked with melanoma. While some newer sunscreens offer protection against UVA, none protect against infra-red.
Many of the chemicals in sunscreens are known carcinogens and also endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC). These EDCs have properties that disrupt both androgens and estrogens. In areas where there has been much exposure to ED chemicals, coral and other sea populations have died off and the prevalence of dual-sexed fish has risen.
Research on mice and sunscreen exposure showed increases in both pup and maternal mortality as well as reproductive issues in subsequent generations. To make matters worse, most sunscreen manufacturers use nano particles of titanium and zinc oxide in their formulas. The FDA currently has no requirements for noting the presence of nano particles on cosmetic product labels. Nano particles are so small that they can penetrate cell walls and cross the blood-brain barrier. This leads to more cell oxidation and damage, further increasing the possibility of skin cancer and other potential long-term side effects.
Sadly, sunscreen residues have polluted many of our water sources, including not just oceans but inland lakes, rivers and municipal drinking water. Testing has shown that 97% of Americans have sunscreen chemicals in their blood. These chemicals can pass through the placenta and are found in breast milk. EDCs can alter male/female sex differentiation, cause men’s breasts to grow, impact brain development, disrupt thyroid function and impact both male and female fertility. Sunscreen also leads to Vitamin D deficiency which is increasingly linked to reduced immunity, cancer, auto-immune issues and a number of other health issues.
As much as we want to avoid using most of the sunscreens and long exposure to sun, it’s still necessary to get certain amount of sun to regulate your Vitamin D levels, immune system and mood. It’s very important to remember, what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it! Your skin is your largest organ, and it’s your body’s protective barrier against the outside world. Our skin can absorb much of what we put on it, so this means that harmful chemicals in body products, including those in sunscreens, can enter your bloodstream and circulate throughout your body, wreaking havoc on your immune and endocrine systems.
With each sunscreen, we should ask these questions:
- Will the chemical penetrate skin and reach living tissues?
- Will it disrupt the hormone system?
- Can it affect the reproductive and thyroid systems and, in the case of fetal or childhood exposure, permanently alter reproductive development or behavior?
- Can it cause a skin allergy?
- What if it is inhaled?
- Are there other toxicity concerns?
6 Toxins to Avoid in Sunscreen
- Oxybenzone – This chemical absorbs and filters UV light and is therefore a common ingredient in sunscreen, despite causing relatively high rates of skin allergies. It also penetrates the skin at very high rates and acts like estrogen once it enters your bloodstream, disrupting your endocrine system, reducing sperm production, and potentially causing endometriosis.
- Octinoxate – Octinoxate is also readily absorbed via the skin and also disrupts your endocrine system by mimicking hormonal activity that can affect the reproductive system and thyroid.
- Retinyl Palmitate – A form of Vitamin A, this chemical is used in a large number of sunscreens and SPF- containing moisturizers and lip balms because it is believed to slow skin aging. But, when exposed to sunlight, it has been shown to speed the development of malignant cells and skin tumors because UV rays cause the compound to break down and produce destructive free radicals.
- Homosalate – This common ingredient also helps sunscreen penetrate your skin and disrupts hormone balances. It can accumulate in your body faster than your body can detoxify it through your liver, lingering in your body and increasing your toxic burden.
- Octocrylene – This is yet another ingredient that is easily absorbed by the skin and produces free radicals that can cause mutations and damage cells when exposed to UV rays.
- Parabens – Parabens are a group of synthetic compounds commonly added to cosmetics and body products because they prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria. They are dangerous because, like so many ingredients in this list, they disrupt hormone functions, potentially leading to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Five common types of parabens have been banned in the EU, and the FDA is under pressure to ban them in the U.S.
There are few steps you can take to avoid skin damage and potential hazard caused by UVA, UVB rays or chemically infused sunscreen products. You can choose The cleanest ones, which are reef safe, non-nano particle mineral and healthy oil based sunscreens, limit the sun exposure to no more than hour in total and have a diet full of high quality antioxidants, vitamin C and Astaxanthin.