Did You Know Your Sunscreen Can Be More Dangerous Than Sunburn?
Being a cowgirl, I have always been quite careful to protect my face from the ravages of the sun. I almost always wear a hat, and have always slathered sunscreen on my face religiously. Sunscreen was my shield against that “wrinkled paper bag” look that most mature cowgirls get after a while.
The Centers for Disease Control now tells me that I’ve been doing more damage to my body with sunscreen than I would just letting my face burn in the sun. What a bummer. It turns out that the culprit is a little chemical called oxybenzone, a key ingredient in these beauty products sold in the U.S.:
– over 600 sunscreen lotions
– 172 facial moisturizers
– 111 lip balms
– 81 different types of lipstick
How Does Oxybenzone Harm Us?
The Centers for Disease Control studies reveal that oxybenzone, also known as benzophenone-3, causes all kinds of problems, including low birth weight, cellular damage, hormonal imbalances, and allergic reactions to the sun.
Oxybenzone and Skin Damage
While oxybenzone is supposed to be one of the primary ingredients in sunscreen that protects your skin, it’s actually one of the chemicals that damages your skin the most. The Centers for Disease Control identified this chemical as the most likely to cause allergic reactions triggered by exposure to the sun. Even worse, when exposed to sunlight, oxybenzone forms free radical chemicals that may be linked to cell damage. Finally, oxybenzone easily penetrates the skin, and helps other chemicals more easily penetrate the skin as well. Can you say skin damage?
Oxybenzone and Gender-Benders
In addition to wreaking havoc on the skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control, studies indicate that oxybenzone can affect the estrogenic, androgenic, and adrenal hormone systems in the body. For men, this chemical may cause a drop in testosterone as well.
Worse Than Oxybenzone
As if oxybenzone isn’t enough, the list of damaging chemicals in sunscreen contains more than a single item. Other toxic ingredients in sunscreen include:
* Benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone)
* PABA and PABA esters (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB, glyceryl PABA)
* p-aminobenzoic acid padimate O or Octyl dimethyl PABA)
* Cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl, p-methoxycinnamate)
* Salicylates (ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate)
* Digalloyl trioleate
* Menthyl anthranilate
The good news is that there are sunscreen lotions out there that are fairly chemical-free and actually work. Check out products by Soleo and Marie Veronique Organics, both of which have excellent ratings from the Skin Deep website, an online database that rates the safety of skincare products. In addition, you can always undo damage to your skin from sun exposure with the use of antioxidant skincare products. XanGo’s Glimpse skincare line is an excellent way to undo years of skin damage and also has an excellent Skin Deep rating. You might also consider some down-home farm remedies, such as witch hazel, aloe vera gel, and diluted essential oils such as lavender and chamomile.