While we’ve all been told over and over again not to go out in the sun without using sunscreen, it turns out that slathering your body with sunblock may cause its own damage. In Dr. Elizabeth Plourde’s book, “Sunscreens – Biohazard: Treat as Hazardous Waste,” she writes about the serious life-threatening dangers of sunscreens, to both humans and the environment. She provides evidence that malignant melanoma and all other skin cancers increased significantly with sunscreen use over a 30-year period, and emphasized that many sunscreens contain chemicals that are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.
Consumers expect their sunscreens to stay on and be effective. Sunscreens commonly include ingredients that allow better penetration, and help the product adhere to skin. These ingredients allow sunscreen chemicals to be absorbed into the body through the skin, measuring in blood and urine samples. Plourde released test results revealing that 97% of Americans have sunscreen chemicals in their blood. The truth is that many of the products that consumers trust for sun protection contain dangerous ingredients.
Harmful Ingredients in Sunscreen
The Environmental Working Group has published a list of their best and worst products for shielding the sun’s rays. The group looked at more than 750 products this year and concluded that nearly 75% of them offered poor protection or had worrisome ingredients. The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters, which typically include a combination of 2-6 ingredients that have been found to mimic hormones or cause skin allergies. Oxybenzone was at the top of the most worrisome list. It’s a sunscreen additive that was examined by the group, and found to be a hormone disruptor and an allergen.
Another ingredient that the Environmental Working Group voiced its concerns about is a form of Vitamin A that is commonly used as a sunscreen additive. Known as retinyl palmitate, the ingredient is believed to be harmful to skin. Studies suggest that it may trigger the development of skin tumors and lesions when used on the skin in the presence of sunlight.
According to the EWG’s report, these are the 7 worst sunscreens for kids:
- Banana Boat Kids Max Protect & Play Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
- Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, Wacky Foam and Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 55
- CVS Baby Sunstick Sunscreen and Spray, SPF 55
- Equate Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
- Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray and Stick products, SPF 70
- Up & Up Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
- Hampton Sun Continuous Mist Sunscreen for Kids, SPF 70
While consumers believe they are getting protection from the sun, they may also be allowing harmful chemicals to come in contact with their bodies. So what is one to do when wanting to spend time outside in the summer? After all, sunlight is the best natural source of Vitamin D.
Go natural. Read labels, research ingredients and skip the chemicals.
The following made the Environmental Working Groups’ list of the best beach and sport sunscreens:
- Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Bare Belly Organics, SPF 34
- Beauty Without Cruelty, SPF 30
- Kiss My Face Organics Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Nature’s Gate Face Sunscreen, SPF 25
- Releve Organic Skincare, SPF 30
According to the EWG, the best sunscreens for kids include:
- ATTITUDE Little Ones 100% Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
- COOLA Suncare Baby Mineral Sunscreen, unscented moisturizer, SPF 50
- California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Goddess Garden Kids Sport Natural Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- Kiss My Face Organics Kids Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Nurture My Body Baby Organics Sunscreen, SPF 32
- Substance Baby Natural Sun Care Creme, SPF 30
- Sunology Natural Sunscreen, Kids, SPF 50