The Dangers of Chemical Sunscreens. Are they protecting you from skin cancer?

baby_sunscreen7With a growing conscience of a healthier lifestyle many people have increased their use of sunscreens to prevent skin cancer.   Yet, there has been an astonishing rise of skin cancer over the past several years.  A lot of medical research is going into testing the chemical ingredients in many of the sunscreen products on the market.  One concern is that these toxic chemicals could be increasing your cancer risk and doing more harm than good.  Many of the chemicals in our sunscreens are actually promoting free radicals and contain chemicals that disrupt hormone balance and normal sexual development in girls. Here is a list of chemicals that are in most often found in popular sunscreens on the market. 

Benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone)

Cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, octyl methoxycinnamate)

Digalloyl troleate

Menthyl anthranilate

Salicylates (ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate)

PABA (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB,  glyceryl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate-O or octyl dimethyl PABA)

Avobenzone (butyl-methyoxydibenzoylmethane; Parsol 1789).

Many of these chemicals generate free radical growth, which accelerate the aging process and contribute to cancer.  Currently, the FDA is evaluating requirements and possible changes to the labeling requirements to make the public more aware of the dangers of the sun. Read the labels and look at the active ingredients when choosing your sunscreen and always make sure you are choosing a sunscreen that is a “broad spectrum” sunscreen. Usually the toxic chemicals begin with oxy, octo, octyl or ethyl, or methyl. Ingredients that have been declared “chemical free” and most effective in blocking the UVA and UVB rays in sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

I did some research through EWG, The Environmental Working Group( to find out which sunscreens on the market are the safest (free of toxic chemicals) and still protect us from both the UVA and UVB sun rays. These are some of the top ranked sunscreens that are chemical free.  I encourage you to always check the ingredients on the sunscreen before you buy. If it is loaded with chemicals then you may want to consider a different sunscreen.

1.     Badger Sunscreen SPF 30 – costs about $15 for a 2.9 oz tube and can be bought online at

2.     TruKid Sunny Days Sunscreen SPF 30 – costs about $11 for a 4oz tube and Face sticks SPF 30 for about $9 and can be purchased at or

3.     California Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 – costs about $13-$18 for a 2.9 oz tube and can be found at most Targets or online at or Target stores. 

4.     Kiss my Face 100% Paraben Free with Oat Protein SPF 30 – costs about $8 for a 4 ounce tube and can be found at or

5.     Goddess Garden Kids and Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 – costs about $13 for 3oz tube and can be found at

6.      Jason`s Natural Cosmetic Sunbrellas Mineral Based SPF 30- costs about $12 for a 4oz tube and can be purchased at , Trader Joe`s or the organic section at your local market or health store. 

7.     Vanicream Sunscreen (sport, sensitive skin or regular) SPF 15 and above – costs about $15 for a 4oz tube and can be purchased online at

8.     Mexitan or Tropical Sands Lotion SPF 30 – costs $16.95 for a 8oz tube and can be purchased at

9.     Soleo Organic Sunscreen SPF 30 – costs about $14 for a 1oz tube and can be purchased at or

 10.   Sun Science Organic Daily Wear SPF 30 – costs about $22 for a 3.4oz tube and can be purchased online at  They have a coupon for 15% of sunscience15 at checkout.

 Keep in mind that you should always check the expiration dates on your sunscreens before applying.  If you have a tube that is from last year and you haven`t used it in awhile you may want to consider tossing it and picking up a new tube.  Sunscreen does lose its effectiveness over time and may not keep you properly protected from the UVA/UVB rays of the sun.  Try to avoid being in the sun during the hottest times of the day noon-4pm but if you  must then be sure to reapply your sunscreen every 30 minutes to be sure you are being properly protected.

Interesting Read: CBS News, Many Sunscreens Ineffective, Group Says, March 26, 2009

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See a recent article on this issue from 60% of chemical sunscreens are unsafe or ineffective. The article talks about the dangerous chemical ingredient “oxybenzone” which is absorbed into the skin and can disrupt hormonal development.

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