Toxic Sunscreen Ingredients A longer list

We’re Continuing to Look at toxic Sunscreen ingredients. Summer Sun means FUN! Right? In order to protect our skin from the powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, we usually apply and reapply sunscreen. Sunscreen seems to be our first and best way to beat the serious threat of skin cancer.

What is the problem with sunscreen? Recent studies show that a lot of ingredients found in sunscreens have their own set of health risks.

My last article covered Benzene and Oxybenzone, and you can read it here. Benzene and Osybenzone are the biggies of toxic sunscreen ingredients. I say these two are in the Red Zone, meaning, “Danger, danger, danger!” Read that article here.

Just one application of toxic sunscreen ingredients upon the skin means entry into the bloodstream. The ingredients from this one application will flow through the bloodstream for 3 weeks. Yikes!

Toxic Sunscreen Ingredients that are in the Gray Zone

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) have identified more sunscreen toxic ingredients. These are in the “gray zone”. That means they aren’t QUITE as toxic as Benzene and Oxybenzone.

  • Avobenzone- unstable/protective ability breaks down in the sun in 30 minutes, endocrine disruptor, becomes increasingly more toxic when exposed to chlorine, potential to cause skin allergies
  • Homosalate- endocrine disruptor, shown to enhance the amount of pesticides we absorb through our skin
  • Octinoxate- endocrine disruption, reproductive and developmental toxicity, organ system toxicity
  • Octisalate- potential skin sensitivity or rash in those with sensitive skin, including infants and children, possible reproductive disruption, quickly absorbed from skin into the bloodstream, detected in breast milk
  • Cinoxate- skin irritation, environmental contaminant, can be stored in fat tissue (including the placenta)
  • Dioxybenzone- can cause skin/eye/lung irritation, rats tested showed this ingredient in vitro, plasma, the uterus and ovaries.
  • Ensulizole- may cause cancer, causes formation of free radicals
  • Meradimate-skin irritant, hair follicle irritant,
  • Padimate o- Skin reactions, contact dermatitis, vitiligo (white patches), can lead to cell death, linked to cardiovascular disease
  • Sulisobenzone- skin irritant, allergen, skin/eye/lung irritant, endocrine disruptor

Note – These ingredients are in the “gray zone”, meaning they are merely “OK”. Once I look at the side effects tied to these gray zone ingredients, I really don’t like the looks of them, either.

The U.S. Sunscreens Aren’t As Safe As European Products

It is important to note that U.S. sunscreen regulations haven’t been updated since 2011. The FDA has delayed updates due to the coronavirus issue. It sounds like the FDA will work on new sunscreen standards in Fall 2021.

European standards for sunscreen safety are much more restrictive (safe) than the FDA accepted standards. The FDA allows some gray zone ingredients to be used in sunscreens. But if you look at the list above, the side effects for the gray zone ingredients are kinda scary.

Simply stated – European sunscreens are potentially less toxic than FDA approved ones. Look at this statement found in The Trouble With Ingredients In Sunscreens by EWG

Within the past year, the European Commission has published preliminary opinions on the safety of three organic UV filters, oxybenzone, homosalate, and octocrylene. It found that the levels of two of them were not safe in the amounts at which they are currently used, and proposed a concentration limit of 2.2 percent for oxybenzone and 1.4 percent for homosalate. U.S. sunscreen manufacturers are legally allowed to use these two chemicals at concentrations up to 6 and 15 percent, respectively, and hundreds of sunscreens manufactured in the U.S. use them at concentrations that far exceed the European Commission’s recommendations.

Another concern I find is that the gray zone ingredients are also masked with commercial trade names. For instance, Avobenzone has trade names: Parsol 1789, Milestab 1789, Eusolex 9020, Escalol 517, Neo Heliopan 357 and Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane. All these various names makes it tremendously difficult to search out side effects. Do you think that is done on purpose?

Alternative Choices To Avoid Toxic Sunscreen Ingredients

The FDA and EWG officially identifies only two sunscreen ingredients that are deemed “safe”. Both of these safe ingredients are mineral filters. These two are actually rocks that are ground down to a powder consistency. That means they work by creating a barrier and reflecting UV rays instead of absorbing the rays. These two can produce a chalky appearance on our skin.

Two “Safe” Sunscreen Ingredients Are:

  • Titanium Oxide- non-comedogenic (doesn’t block the pores on the skin). It has light scattering properties. Protects from UV rays. This ingredient often is often used in the nanoparticle form, which has some health concerns all it’s own
  • Zinc Oxide- non-comedogenic and antimicrobial. this one leaves less of a white appearance on the skin. It blocks nearly all dangerous UV light. Lower priced Zinc Oxide lotions may feel gooey. Look for sunscreens containing particles that are small and transparent, and may be called “micronized” in nanoparticles.

Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide do a great job of blocking UVA and UVB light.

Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide are often used in nanoparticle form within sunscreens. We have heard about nanoparticles quite a lot lately, in terms of how they can alter DNA. So consider whether these “safe” ingredients are safe enough for your personal use.

One sunscreen worth considering is the Norwex Natural Sunscreen. This is the one I use on Big Sun special event days.

My Thoughts About Toxic Sunscreen Ingredients

I have decided there really isn’t a perfect sunscreen. The mineral sunscreens like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide are safer, but those nanoparticles are scary. The nanoparticles aren’t regulated or studied for long-term impact or DNA modification. The chemical sunscreens can be hormone-disrupting and can cause cancer. The EWG reports are the most trustworthy resources for finding the safest sunscreens.

I have decided to use sunscreens as my last resort to avoiding sun damage. Instead of sunscreen, I prefer protective clothing, sunglasses, and shade in the peak hours of sunlight. I choose to wear shorts and t-shirts while I get my early morning walk in the sun. That way I am boosting serotonin and Vitamin D to help me feel my best.

I use sunscreens while we have those rare days in the sun…. like a full day of riding jeep trails in the Rocky Mountains or in the desert. The sunscreens I use are as “clean and safe” as possible.

“I have no regrets because I know I did my best – all I could do.”

― Midori Ito

I do the best I can to reduce toxins. Then I relax and have fun!

Enjoy your healthy life!

Pam Schmidt

Chemical Minimalist

Mindfulness Mentor
P.S. Get the support you need to get things rearranged and reduce the chemicals in your home, food, cleaning supplies, and healthy supplements. Request a private consultation with me.

1 Comment

  1. […] My previous article discusses the types of Zinc Oxide to use for making sunscreen. […]

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