Sunscreens have become a tricky thing in the world of skincare. It is a multi-billion dollar industry, with a complete lack of regulation, making it incredibly difficult to know what sort of things to look for and ingredients to stay away from. There are two types of sunscreens currently on the market…chemical and mineral. According to The Environmental Working Group, sunscreens with a chemical makeup usually have a combination of ingredients like oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate, these are extremely dangerous, because they contribute to hormone disruption. Not only are they endocrine disruptors that act as estrogen, but they attribute to lower sperm cell counts and endometriosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found about 96-percent of the U.S. population to have Oxybenzone in our makeup. Additionally, chemical sunscreens contain Vitamin-A, also referred to as Retinyl Palmitate, which essentially causes even more harm than anything else, by speeding up the growth of cancerous cells, tumors and lesions. Mineral Sunscreens are usually a makeup of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, which is considered a much more favorable choice. However there are a number of other things to keep in mind when making a sunscreen choice this summer and beyond, (because the sun does shine each and everyday!)
- Stay away from high SPF levels. Not only are they misleading, there’s a law in the works proposing companies to avoid labeling anything higher than 50+, but they’re waste of your money! You end up thinking the higher SPF has you covered, but it’s false!
- At all costs avoid spray sunscreens. You’re more likely to inhale the sunscreen than wear it on your body. Most of the time it ends up on the person next to you and as a result you are sunburned!
- Try to cover up with hats and long sleeves whenever possible, choose a shady spot and try to avoid the hottest times of the day to venture outside.
Unfortunately, three fourths of the sunscreens EWG tested came back positive for the toxic ingredients mentioned and Melanoma rates have actually tripled over the past 35-years. On the plus side, a law passed back in 2011 which prohibits the sale of sunscreens that make “waterproof” or “sweatproof” claims and must disclose cancer warnings on the bottle. Now we just have to wait for a proposed law from 2014 set forth by former President Obama called the Sunscreen Innovation Act to go into effect that would encourage a stricter FDA processes for reviewing and approving new ingredients. Although there are new broad spectrum testing standards in effect, EWG states that about half of the suncreens sold here would never be on the market in Europe, a place with a much more advanced policy on UVA protection. It’s important to get your daily Vitamin-D doses, just do it as safely as possible!
If you need help choosing the right sunscreen for you, I would love to help!