Why most sunscreens are not safe for you and your kids
Posted by - Barbara Sutnik
A Consumer HealthStyles survery from 2013 revealed that 15% of adult men and 30% of adult women use sunscreen when leaving the house for more than an hour (1). When it comes to people on summer vacation it is safe to say that almost 100% of both men and women at the beach, cover themselves and their kids with sunscreens head to toe for 3 main reasons:
- Sunscreens help protect us from getting skin cancer.
- Sunscreen help our skin look young.
- Sunscreens protect our skin from burning.
The use of sunscreen is widely spread especially in countries like Australia and New Zealand were the Ozon layer is thin and among people with sensitive skin and higher income. In Australia and New Zealand there are about 33 cases of Melanoma cancer per every 100,000 people compared to 12.7 cases per 100,000 people in the USA. Nordic European Countries are high up in the list of melanoma rates with 24.7 to 29 cases of Melanoma per 100,000 people. In 2018 there were 300,000 new Melanoma cases revealed worldwide (2) and that makes dermatologists call people to use sunscreen on a daily basis even when they are in the shade (3).
our health and planet
What we are not aware of is the effect those sunscreens have on our own personal health and on the environment health.
According to an article published by the New York Times in August 2017 (4), About 14,000 tons of sunscreens enter the worlds reef every year. Since most of those sunscreen contain chemicals, those chemicals find their way to the sea every time someone takes a plunge in the ocean and that has an enormous effect on the health of coral reefs and marine life.
This is why the government of Hawaii decided last year to ban the use of sunscreen that contain 2 specific chemicals; oxybenzone and octinoxate. It turns out that those 2 chemicals bleach and kill coral reefs and the government of Hawaii, followed by the government of Key West later on this year decided to completely ban the use of sunscreens that contain those 2 chemicals starting from 2021.
Why only from 2021 and not immediately?
It turns out that about 65% of existing sunscreens contain oxybenzone and octinoxate and the ban has a major effect on most manufacturers of sunscreens.
The question every normal person should ask is: if a certain chemical ingredient can bleach a coral and kill it, how safe is this chemical to human consumption?
Another relevant question is:
How widely are those chemicals in use?
How widely are those chemicals in use?
Already in 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested 2500 Americans and found Oxybenzone traces in the blood of 96% of them, even in breast milk of nursing moms. About 65% of tested sunscreens by EWG during 2017 contained Oxybenzone. It looks like Oxybenzone is extremely used and some very famous brand names sunscreens were found to contain very high quantities of Oxybenzone.
In May 2019 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released the results of a small clinical trial that indicated that chemicals in sunscreen are absorbed in the bloodstream and not just stay on the surface of the skin (5).
At this point you are probably asking yourself: OK, but how does it effect my health, if at all?
According to Enviromental Work Group (6) oxybenzone is linked to hormone distruption and was also found that there is a linkage between high oxybenzone levels to significantly reduced testosterone levels at young males (7). It also has a link to lower birth weight of baby girls that their mothers had high rates of oxybenzone (8).
No question that the fight of Hawaii and Key West to preserve USA marine life has a very relevant linkage to our personal health. It increased awareness and raised again the question of why questionable chemical ingredients found their ways into common personal care products including sunscreens.
Suncreens, like any other skincare product that contain questionable ingredients can affect our health. Those chemicals penetrate the blood through the skin and that can affect your health and wellness in many ways. Especially when you are pregnant. This is why it is important to use only all-natural sunscreens and skincare products in general. It might seem to you that omitting Oxybenzone is enough but the reason Oxybenzone got such publicity is only because the government of Hawaii decided to put the focus on it. That does not mean that other chemical ingredients are ok for you. Ingredients like Oxybenzone, Paraben, SLS, Artificial Scents are widely used. If you read a label of a sunscreen or any skin care product and feel like the list of ingredient is too long and that you need a third degree in chemistry to understand what is on the label, it is probably a sign that you should not purchase that product unless you really check every ingredient and decides it is ok for you.
Should people refrain from the use of sunscreen?
"Sunscreen use has been shown to reduce the risk of skin cancer in a number of scientific studies."
- AAD President George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, FAAD -
The president of the American Academy of Dermatology, MD George J.Hruza, issued a statement on May 6th 2019 mentioning the FDA that said that individuals should not refrain from the use of sunscreen. According to Dr. Hruza; "sunscreen is a component of a comprehensive sun protection plan".
The good news is that there is no need to stop using sunscreen. All you need to do is to make sure you use all-natural sunscreen. All natural skin care products are free of questionable chemicals.
Use only all-natural sunscreen because the chemicals of regular sunscreens penetrate the blood stream through the skin.
- Riki Hakim, ND -