A Breakdown of Harmful Suncare
The problem with ordinary sunscreens and tanning oils is that they contain UV filtering chemicals, rather than mineral filters such as Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide. Ordinary sunscreens rely on Avobenzone, a relatively safe UV filtering chemical, as the active ingredient for sun protection. However, Avobenzone breaks down in sunlight, so additional, active ingredients/chemicals are added to stabilize Avobenzone when exposed to sunlight.
Ordinary chemical sunscreens typically consist of a combinatory of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, octinoxate + avobenzone.
Oxybezone: Found in many ordinary suncare products, Oxybenzone is a known endocrine disruptor. Oxybenzone is small enough to penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream. Once inside your body, it acts like estrogen; alters sperm production in animal lab studies, and is associated with endometriosis in women. Additionally, relatively high rates of skin allergy have been shown.
Octinoxate: animal laboratory studies show hormone like activity once Octinoxate is absorbed into the blood stream – animal laboratory studies showed behavioral, thyroid, and reproductive system alternations. Moderate rates of skin allergies have been found.
Homosalate: Homosalate has moderate toxicity concerns, but studies show it disrupts estrogen, androgen, and progesterone once inside your body.
Octisalate: Octisalate stabilizes Avobenzone. Currently there has not been research linking this chemical with health concerns, however lab studies conclude Octisalate can penetrate the skin.
Octocrylene: Currently there has not been research linking this chemical with health concerns, however lab studies conclude Octocrylene can penetrate the skin. Studies have shown relatively high rates of skin allergy.
Avobenzone: Avobenzone provides the best UVA protection of chemical filters, and studies have found limited evidence of skin penetration of hormone disruption, but high rates of skin allergy.
Vitamin A/Retinyl Palmitate: The antioxidant Vitamin A is added to many suncreens, after sun lotions, lip sunscreens and cosmetic products because it is believed to slow skin aging. This may be true for lotions and night creams used indoors, but this chemical becomes hazardous when exposed to sunlight. Scientists have found that Vitamin A, when exposed to sunlight, can breakdown into free radicals that damage DNA and may cause cancer.
Many sunscreens are a lotion, meaning they contain a mixture of oil and water. Water easily spurns mold, so preservatives are added to increase the shelf life of ordinary sunscreens. Many companies still use Parabens, despite strong evidence that they’re linked to breast cancer. Scientists found concentrations of six different types of parabens in biopsy samples of breast tumors. Parabens mimic estrogren and increase the expression of genes that can cause human breast tumor cells.
note: Scientists rely on data from animal studies to determine the toxicity of certain chemicals and cosmetic product ingredients. We do not endorse animal testing nor do we test any of our products on animals.
This page contains information cited from scientific papers. We would be more than happy to provide references upon request.