As you know, your skin absorbs substances. Research shows that oxybenzone is absorbed by the skin and can end up in your bloodstream. It can disrupt your hormones. “One of the things we worry about is that it (oxybenzone) could disrupt the endocrine system,” says Susan Chon, M.D., professor of dermatology at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. According to Prevention Magazine, some studies suggest that this happens because oxybenzone has the potential to modify or change hormone levels.
“It also very commonly causes a photoallergic or irritant reaction,” adds Dr. Chon. This reveals that though sunscreens are created to be used in the sun, exposure to sunlight may cause a skin reaction.
Research shows that approximately 30% of non-mineral sunscreens contain oxybenzone. Although this is certainly progress from the 66% only three years prior, oxybenzone continues to be a substance that may be harmful to both adults and children.
“Benzene is a chemical that is ubiquitous in the environment and not an intentionally added ingredient in personal care products. People worldwide are exposed daily to benzene from indoor and outdoor sources, including air, drinking water, and food and beverages,” according to the Personal Care Products Council.
While benzene is not an intentional additive in any product, it can be harmful. Some say that’s debatable; since benzene is found in trace amounts, it’s not a concern. However, the chemical has been linked to blood disorders by the National Cancer Institute. Likewise, people have begun to witness further recalls on sunscreens that contain benzene.
Benzene has become more of a health and safety concern today than it has ever been. According to the World Health Organization benzene is classified as a Class 1 carcinogen, which states that “benzene-contaminated sunscreens pose a risk for unintentional absorption over time, even if the exact risk threshold for skin isn’t clear currently.”
The Food and Drug Administration, FDA, published several articles and studies on oxybenzone and benzene as active ingredients claiming that they may remain in one’s bloodstream for extended periods of time.
Yet, experts are not advocating for the absence of sunscreen, but rather for a safer option such as a mineral sunscreen.
Researchers believe a much safer alternative to chemical sunscreens may be mineral sunscreen.
When it comes to mineral sunscreens, the FDA has observed the two main ingredients found in mineral sunscreens, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as both effective and safe.
Mineral Sunscreen vs. Chemical Sunscreen
Sunscreen – not one size fits all
Every person has their own unique skin characteristics to consider when purchasing any type of skin care product. Whether your skin type is dry, oily, combination, acne-prone or sensitive, you have sunscreen options!
Sunscreens are made to be compatible with certain skin types. The right answer for you may not be the right answer for each person in your family. It’s best to find out what kind of sunscreen works best for you and your skin type.
Lifestyle also plays a large role in what type of sunscreen you may want to invest in. Sunscreens are made to be tailored to you, your skin and your lifestyle. It is all about finding which is right for you.
- Have an active lifestyle? Shop for sunscreen that protects your skin even when perspiring.
- Love cosmetics? Find a sunscreen that’s comfortable with makeup, one specifically designed to wear under makeup or check out tinted sunscreen.
- Want something affordable? Look for a sunscreen that gives you the best value or bang for your buck.
Go Without Sunscreen:
Sunscreen is important, but you do have alternatives.
- Hats – start a collection of fun summer hats that keep the sun off your face and neck.
- Umbrellas or tents – enjoy the pool in shade that you set up yourself
- Coverups – from traditional coverups to UV protective clothing, apparel can help keep the sun off while you’re enjoying time in the sun
Do you find sunscreen uncomfortable, spoils your makeup, is not effective, or just simply don’t like wearing it? Do your kids protest when you try to apply sunscreen to their skin?
The secret to consistently apply sunscreen, is to find a product you enjoy wearing and one that’s conducive to your lifestyle.
Sunscreens can be moisturizing, scented, lightweight or shimmering. They can be rubbed on, sprayed on or spread on with a stick. Finding what you like about a specific sunscreen will significantly increase the chances that you – and your kids – actually wear it.