Hi guys! Today we’ll be talking about what sunscreen ingredients to avoid. After breaking out with cystic acne from Nivea Zero Feeling UV Lotion, I realized I have to be extra cautious about what ingredients are in my skincare products. Guilty as charged that as I grew older, I sorta got lazy in going in-depth with what inside the products and just purchased based on brand, popularity, or description.
WRONG MOVE KAYCEE.
My skin has been suffering from poor choices. Choices.
A lot of sunscreens available on the market contain harmful chemicals that can potentially contribute to skin issues like hormonal problems, acne, and even liver damage! Our skin is the LARGEST organ in our body and what goes on it, goes inside our bloodstream. I’m writing this post to also remind myself (and you, who’s reading this) what ingredients we should avoid on skincare products like sunscreens.
So many skincare products on the market contain toxic chemicals that contribute to hormonal problems and skin issues like acne. Just like food, it’s so important to read the ingredients of all our skincare products because our skin is extremely absorbent, and anything we put on it enters our bloodstream. So what ingredients should we avoid when it comes to sunscreen?
Top 9 Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid
#1 Benzophenone-3, also know as Oxybenzone
A very common ingredient in FDA approved sunscreens. Very effective at reducing UV exposure, it is also classified as a hazardous irritant for eye contact and slightly hazardous for direct skin contact. (https://www.spectrumchemical.com/MSDS/B3409.pdf).
#2 Avobenzone, also a benzophenone
A very common ingredient in FDA approved chemical-based sunscreens. Avobenzone is often used in replace of Oxybenzone, but is still a benzophenone and holds with it similar risks associated with Oxybenzone. This ingredient works the same as oxybenzone in that it penetrates the skin and is also used to help other chemicals penetrate the skin. It also photodegrades in with exposure to sunlight, increasing free radicals in the skin, increasing risks of types of skin cancer as well as photocontact alltergies to sunscreens. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19856938
#3 Cylcopentasiloxane / Cyclomethicone
Silicone-based ingredients are used in skin and hair care products. They soften the skin and smooth hair follicles, but they’ve also been shown to be toxic and to bio-accumulate in aquatic organisms. They are also suspected to be reproductive toxins and endocrine disruptors.
Another very common sunscreen ingredient that, for health concerns, is limited to less than 10% in a formula by the FDA. Its used as a UV absorber that helps sunscreen ingredients penetrate your skin. It bio-accumulates in the body faster than it can be eliminated and is considered a hormone disrupter.
A widely used and very effective preservative. It is considered a sensitizer and irritant, is associated with allergic reactions, and lab studies are suggesting that it may be a neurotoxin. It is also considered an ecotoxin.
A synthetic UV absorber and SPF booster. It may cause allergic reactions in those with sensitive skin and has been shown to bio-accumulate in the body.
#7 Octinoxate / Octyl methoxy cinnamate
Also, a commonly used UV filter approved by the FDA for use in sunscreens. It is absorbed through the skin and has been found in human urine, blood and breast milk, showing that it is systematically absorbed. It is an endocrine disruptor that can mimic hormones. Also listed as a direct cause for coral bleaching by Robert Davanero et al – there is a strong cause to avoid all products using this ingredient: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2291018/
Including propylparaben, benzylparaben, methylparaben and butylparaben are commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria, yeast and molds in personal care products like shampoos, lotions and sunscreens. These ingredients can mimic the hormone estrogen which has been known to contribute to breast cancer and can also mimic other hormones in the body. The good news is that many brands, including many in the main-stream, have recognized the cause for concern and will clearly label their products as ‘paraben-free’, but many still use this effective and inexpensive preservative.
Commonly found in synthetic fragrances, block male hormones and can interfere with normal genitalia development. High levels can cause sluggish sperm and low testosterone levels in adult males. These are also classified as endocrine disruptors that can interfere with normal brain function. Although this doesn’t guarantee there are no phthalates in the formula, look for fragrances that are designated as ‘natural’ or derived from essential oils. Some companies will also state phthalate free on their labels or in their marketing literature.
Whew, these are a lot to take in. Honestly, I couldn’t memorize all of these sunscreen ingredients to avoid! So I’ll just bookmark this page to serve as a reference for myself. You can bookmark this too or save this on your mobile device so you can easily check if your sunscreen has a harmful ingredient or not.
Now.. I’m off to find another sunscreen because none of the products in my stash are safe enough for me huhuhu.