Hidden Dangers of Sunscreen

In our Sun Protection Blog Series, we’ll be going over why sunscreen may be bad for your health and the environment, followed up with alternative ways to protect yourself from the harmful rays, and more! 

Hidden Dangers of Sunscreen

Sunscreen– it is the go-to beauty product for many celebrities and bloggers.  You’ve heard that without it you will get sunburned, age quickly, and worst of all– you will get cancer.  Sunscreen is supposed to be a very good thing.  

But is it, really?

Sunscreen may cause health problems

Some ingredients used in common sunscreens have become controversial. Certain research studies show that extended use can be linked with speeding up the development of tumors and lesions and trigger allergic reactions, among other health issues.

Here are a couple of ingredients that you might want to steer clear of:

 

1.  Oxybenzone

Chemistry

Oxybenzone is thought to be one of the most toxic ingredients in cosmetics

Oxybenzone is found in 80% of  “chemical” sunscreens, which absorb UVA and UVB rays.  It is a photostabilizer and chemical filter which absorbs UV light.  However, oxybenzone may actually be pretty dangerous.

Oxybenzone may cause:

  • Breast cancer
  • Increased photosensitivity
  • Production of free radicals (which have the ability to attack your cells)

It has also been linked to contact eczema and allergies. All around, not something you want on your body!

2.  Retinyl palminate (Vitamin A)

Hidden Dangers of Sunscreen

Retinyl Palminate may increase the rate and frequency of tumors

Another chemical that you may want to avoid in your sun protection arsenal is Retinyl Palminate.  It is a common vitamin supplement, and is regularly found in topically applied sunscreens.

Retinyl Palminate may increase the risk for cancer on sun-exposed skin.

When tested on laboratory mice, exposure to Retinyl Palminate led to:

  • Earlier onsets and increased multiplicities of skin lesions
  • Increased incideneces and multiplocities of squamous cell neoplasms
  • Enhanced photocarcinogenicity active of SSL ans UVB

(Note: I feel so bad for these lab mice– what an awful life!  Feel comforted knowing that our products are cruelty-free and are not tested on animals).

3.  Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs)

Hidden Dangers of Sunscreen

Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles may damage genetic information and cause cell mutations

This one is pretty scary.

Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) is a common ingredient in “Physical” sunscreens, which reflect and scatter UV rays.  It is great at what it does, but it is white, pasty, and sticky.

Enter Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles– engineered to be a version of TiO2 with much smaller particles.  Nanoparticles make the Titanium Dioxide easier to apply, and also increase its effectiveness as a sunscreen.

However, these mini particles have some really not-so-mini issues.  

Breathing in TiO2 NPs can cause lung toxicity, inflammation, and possibly cancer.

These nanoparticles may have potential for:

  • Cytotoxicity (damaging cells)
  • Genotoxicity (damaging genetic information and causing cell mutations).
  • Increasing oxidation and generate free radicals, which can lead to further damage.

 

Effects on the environment

Hidden Dangers of Sunscreen

Nanoparticles and oxybenzone may negatively impact coral and other marine life

If all that doesn’t worry you, consider the effect on the environment.   Around 4,000-6,000 tons of sunscreen enter the oceans every year, according to the National Park Service.  When you get into the water, the sunscreen washes off your skin and into the ocean.

The nanoparticles in sunscreen may actually cause development problems in marine life, such as sea urchins.

Oxybenzone may also  severely damage the coral reef, with endocrine disruption and DNA damage.  This contributes to coral bleaching, the death of coral, and other problems.

 

What can you do?

It is absolutely possible to be protected from the sun without using these ingredients!  There are options out there!

At OHA, we offer our Natural Sun Protection Lotion that protects you from UV rays, without exposing your skin to these potentially dangerous and toxic chemicals.

There are also natural chemicals that can be applied topically, and supplements that can help protect you from the inside out.

 

There are more potentially nasty ingredients in your typical, conventional sunscreens– this is just the tip of the iceberg.  We encourage you to do your own additional research and make your decisions based on what you find out.

 

Stay tuned for our next installation in our Sun Protection Series, 5 Sunscreen Alternatives,  for more information on what you can do to protect yourself, naturally.

In our next installation, we will be going over:

  1. Red Raspberry Seed Oil
  2. Astaxanthin
  3. Green Tea
  4. Shade
  5. Embracing the sun

 

Hidden Dangers of SuncreenAny questions or comments?  What are your suggestions for natural sun protection?  Let us know, in the comments below!  

Disclaimer:  I’m not a doctor.  I’m just a blogger with an interest in skincare.  A lot of research went into this, however you should always do research for yourself, especially when it comes to important things like protecting your health.  Don’t mess around!  Also, make sure to consult your doctor, dietitian, or other medical professional, before ingesting or applying any products, or abstaining from using sunscreen. 

 

Sources

April 13, 2016 by Brianna Karle, Resident Beauty Blogger

About Brianna Karle

Brianna Karle is a beauty blogger with a strong interest in natural, sustainable, and cruelty free beauty.

Comments

  1. Michael Tivana says:

    There is only one true sunscreen that will not harm the life in our ocean and this is OHA.
    The reason is OHA does not use chemicals like titanium or zinc oxide or oxybenzone etc. to repel the sun. What works best are plant essential oils like raspberry and carrot seed oil.
    Good going OHA — I use it in Hawaii whenever I go to the beach and I feel good that I can be protected by the suns rays in the middle of the day and not be harming the reef.

  2. Michael Tivana says:

    There is only one true sunscreen that will not harm the life in our ocean and this is OHA.
    The reason is OHA does not use chemicals like titanium or zinc oxide or oxybenzone etc. to repel the sun. What works best are plant essential oils like raspberry and carrot seed oil.
    Good going OHA — I use it in Hawaii whenever I go to the beach and I feel good that I can be protected by the suns rays in the middle of the day and not be harming the reef.

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