Did you know that the vast majority of sunscreens are toxic and active ingredients in them act as endocrine disruptors??
Chemical vs. Mineral Sunscreen
With the rise of skin cancer, we have all been slathering on the SPF to avoid harmful UVA and UVB rays. However, what is not talked about are the harmful chemical ingredients in these products. Sunscreen comes in two forms: chemical (synthetic) and mineral. Chemical sunscreen is the most popular because it goes on clear and does not have the chalky residue of some mineral SPFs. However chemical sunscreen penetrates the skin, absorbing all the ingredients into your blood stream, and they have been linked to endocrine and reproductive changes. The three most toxic ingredients in chemical sunscreen are oxybenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate. Mineral sunscreen most commonly contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which do not penetrate the skin, show no endocrine or reproductive changes, and have the lowest toxicity concerns (EWG).
So why should we care about hormone disrupting chemicals in sunscreen? Hormone disruptors effect how estrogen and other hormones act in the body and throw off the body’s hormonal balance, by blocking or mimicking them. Estrogen with a positive hormone receptor can make breast cancer cells grow, which is why chemical sunscreen should be avoided especially in women with a history of breast cancer (BCO), and for all people concerned with hormonal changes. There are 17 ingredients in SPF that are approved by the FDA: 15 of them are chemical and 2 are mineral. Of the 15 chemical ingredients, 9 are endocrine disruptors. Not only can the excess estrogen lead to breast cancer, but also ovarian cancer and prostate cancer in men (Perry). It’s a concern that we are slathering our babies with chemical SPF to keep them protected. Becoming aware of ingredients seems like common sense. Perhaps additive chemical estrogens would not be optimal for normal development in little girls or boys….
Opt for Mineral Sunscreen
Mineral sunscreen is your best bet. They sit on the surface of the skin where as chemical sunscreens penetrate the skin allowing it to absorb the toxins. However there are few mineral sunscreens available; chemical sunscreens dominate the skincare market. You really don’t need an SPF above 15 as they are rarely more effective; it’s just a false sense of security. Check the product for UVA or UVB, also known as “broad spectrum, coverage. Check for oxybenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate in the product or opt for a mineral sunscreen (CNN).
If you don’t want to use mineral sunscreen, natural oils, such as coconut oil and carrot seed oil, provide SPF protection. Check out YCT’s skincare even June 21st where we will be teaching you how to make your own natural, chemical and mineral free, sunscreen.