Think before you slather….Why (Most) Sunscreen is Harmful

Sunscreen use has risen in past decades but the problem is that not all sunscreens are created equal and in some cases, it can be harmful.

Here is why: There are two ways that sunscreen can protect the skin from sun damage – with a mineral barrier or a chemical one.

Mineral sunscreens typically include ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which create a physical barrier to protect the skin from the sun. Chemical sunscreens use one or more chemicals including oxybenzone, avobenzone, octislate, octocrylene, homosalate or octinoxate.

New research by the Environmental Working Group revels that the chemicals commonly used in sunscreen are endocrine disruptors, estrogenic and may interfere with thyroid and other hormone processes in the body. They can also reduce sperm count in men and may contribute to endometriosis in women. Also, of the 1400+ sunscreens the EWG tested, only 5% met their safety standards and over 40% were listed as potentially contributing to skin cancer.

Spray sunscreens have become very popular but also have additional dangers, especially if inhaled.

The other thing to note about sunscreen is that it completely blocks the body’s ability to manufacture Vitamin D. Most of us are already deficient in Vitamin D so to reduce our ability to make it even more is not good!

So what can you do:

  • Use a mineral sunscreen. Some options include: Goddess Garden, Burt’s Bees, Badger Mineral, Honest company, Alba Botanical, or Bull frog.
  • Cover up
  • Supplement with Vitamin D

It is important to be responsible with sun exposure for you and your family and please consider choosing safer sunscreens. But most important get outside and have fun!

Dr. Sarah