Toxic Chemicals in Sunscreen & Safer Alternatives

It’s officially spring, and that means most people are starting to spend more time outdoors. While we love all the benefits of Vitamin D, increased sun exposure also means increased risk from the sun’s rays. Now is a good time to think about protecting your skin from too much sun.

We know a lot of people have heard that some sunscreens can contain toxic chemicals. Have you ever found yourself thinking, “Hmmm…Skin cancer versus cancer linked to harmful chemicals?” Maybe you’re wondering if this is just one of those lose-lose situations.

Don’t despair. MADE SAFE is here to break it down for you. You can find safe sunscreen. We’ll tell you what to avoid on labels and what the MADE SAFE alternatives are so you can get on with enjoying your time outdoors. Plus, we’re giving away MADE SAFE Certified sunscreen from Annmarie Gianni this week! Check out the bottom of this post for details on how to enter.

Common Toxic Chemicals in Sunscreen

Oxybenzone: Used in products to protect against UV exposure. Oxybenzone is an organic compound from a class of chemicals called benzophenones. Oxybenzone is persistent (builds up in the environment) and bioaccumulative (builds up in our bodies). It’s linked to hormone disruption, cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, organ system toxicity, and skin irritation.

Octinoxate: A UV filter that protects from UV-B sun rays (it doesn’t protect against UV-A rays, however). It tends to work well in sunscreen formulas because it dissolves easily in oil. It’s linked to hormone disruption, cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and organ system toxicity.

Homosalate: Absorbs UV light to prevent direct skin exposure. It’s linked to hormone hormone disruption, and some studies show it may also enhance the absorption of pesticides.[i]

Safer Alternatives
  • Look for sunscreens with non-nano zinc oxide or non-nano titanium dioxide, which are both UV resistant. These are the common substitutes as active ingredients in sunscreens to the chemicals of known concern listed above. Nanoparticles in sunscreen have been found to cause severe damage to DNA, disrupt the function of our cells, and lead to cell death, according to a Friends of the Earth report. (Nanoparticles relate to the miniscule size of the ingredient and can’t be seen by the naked eye.)
  • Cover up and find shade. We suggest using clothing and hats as a protective barrier from the sun. This can be an excellent way to protect your skin from damaging sun rays.
  • Avoid the strongest sun. Go outside early in the morning and in the later afternoon when the sun is not at it’s strongest to avoid the most intense sun exposure.
  • Look for the MADE SAFE seal on packages.

We’re celebrating the kick-off to summer with a giveaway of MADE SAFE certified sun products from Annmarie Gianni Skin Care, which was the first skin care line to achieve MADE SAFE certification. Their Sun Love Natural Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 20 sunscreen is made entirely with safe ingredients. We’re also giving away their Coconut Body Oil, a great after-sun nourisher for your skin, also certified made with safe ingredients.

Enter on Instagram:

  • Like both @madesafehq and @annmarieskincare
  • Tag a friend in the comments for five extra entries
  • Winner chosen at noon Pacific on Friday, May 5

[i] Brand R, Pike J, Wilson R, Charron A. Sunscreens containing physical UV blockers can increase transdermal absorption of pesticides. Toxicology and Industrial Health, vol. 19, pp 9-16, 2003.

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