The weather is warming up and you might be adding new sunscreen to your shopping list. However, especially if you have kids, there are certain dangerous chemicals that have been known to be added to sunscreens, even popular ones. Here is a list of ingredients to watch for when shopping for a new sunscreen or replacing an old one:
- Look for a sunscreen that has an SPF of 15-30. You might think that SPF 50 or higher is more effective, but it isn’t really. It can also trick you into thinking you do not need to reapply often. Remember to reapply every few hours, especially if you’ve been in the water or sweating.
- When looking in the ingredients, avoid any sunscreens that contain vitamin A.1 Vitamin A itself is not a bad thing, but putting it on your skin may cause tumors or lesions to develop sooner. It may also be called retinyl palmitate or retinol in the ingredients list.
- Watch out for oxybenzone.1 Oxybenzone is a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt your hormones and cause issues, especially in women. Look for products that contain zinc oxide, 3 percent avobenzone or Mexoryl SX instead.
- Aim for lotions instead of sprays, especially if you have a condition that makes it difficult to breathe. The tiny particles in the air when you spray could cause difficulty breathing, especially if you accidentally inhale them.
- Avoid homosalate.1 Homosalate is a common ingredient in sunscreens that can accumulate in our bodies and become toxic, therefore disrupting hormones.
- Look for octocrylene as well.1 This ingredient can produce oxygen radicals that may damage cells and cause mutations. It can also be toxic to the environment.
- Just like many other beauty and health products, avoid paraben preservatives.1 They have been shown to deliver both acute and chronic side effects. These can include allergic reactions, hormone disruption and developmental and reproductive toxicity. They may also be tied to breast cancer.
- Look for natural sunscreens and test products before you use them all over to determine that you are not allergic. If you are unsure about what ingredients are toxic or not, research the ingredients online.
Be sure to cover up when in the sun as well. Sunscreen isn’t always the most effective just because we often forget to re-apply. Be sure to wear hats, sunglasses, and clothing that covers your most susceptible areas.
Make sure to talk to your kids and teens about sun damage and teach them to use sunscreen properly.
What is your favorite sunscreen? Does it have any of the ingredients on this list? Do you worry about toxic chemicals in your products? Share your thoughts with us below!
1 – Information from Women’s Health Magazine