Everyone knows a sunscreen is important by now. Even those who seem to complain of a sunburn every single time they go outside—because sunburn is just too inconvenient—know that they really should be using sunblock when they go outside. However, the chemicals found in modern sunscreens have some people wondering.
Dangers of Sun Exposure
First, let’s be clear: no one is suggesting skipping the sunscreen and spending all day in the sun. The thinning ozone layer means that people have very little natural protection against the sun’s rays, and disregarding this can lead to serious health problems.The UV rays emitted by the sun can lead to sunburn and skin damage.
The damage of your skin cells can even lead to the development of skin cancer. Even in non-serious cases of skin cancer, you are still looking at anesthesia, mole removal, and follow-up skin appointments and annual skin checks for the rest of your life.In addition to staying out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day and wearing protective clothing, sunscreen is one of the best things you can do to protect your skin from sun damage.
What’s Really in Your Sunscreen?
However, you may want to do some research on the sunscreen you use. A recent report indicates that most sunscreens have dozens of chemicals that can be harmful in the human body, and since you apply sunscreen to your skin, you can be sure that at least some of it is working its way into your body.
These are some of the most worrisome chemicals that are found in sunscreen:
Octinoxate: Octinoxate is a UV filter with high toxicity concerns. It works a lot like a hormone in the human body, and research indicates that it affects the reproductive system and the thyroid. Some studies even link it to changes in behavior.
Oxybenzone: Many experts agree that oxybenzone is the most dangerous chemical to look for in sunscreen. It mimics estrogen in the human body, so it can alter sperm production and efficiency. In women, it is tied to endometriosis.
Titanium dioxide: In lotion sunscreens, titanium dioxide is not a problem. However, this chemical is dangerous when inhaled, so spray-on sunscreens are to be avoided.
MI: MI is often listed as an inactive ingredient in American sunscreens. Despite the fact that it should be inactive, it causes many allergic reactions and skin sensitivity.
Avobenzone: Unlike other UV filters on this list, avobenzone does not seem to disrupt hormones. It does tend to cause skin sensitivity and allergic reactions, though.
How to Avoid These Chemicals
Clearly, avoiding sunscreen altogether is not the answer. But you should use this information to choose a better sunscreen for your family. There are several natural sunscreens on the market that avoid the use of the chemicals listed above. Still, check ingredient labels, since some sunscreens just have lower levels of these chemicals.
In addition, you may want to stay away from spray-on sunscreen altogether. Not only has it been demonstrated to be ineffective, it often contains higher levels of dangerous chemicals. Inhalation is a serious risk.