Is SUNSCREEN really that bad?!?!

First, I think it is great people are getting ‘woke’ to harmful ingredients out there, but not one single article that I have read lately actually explains WHY any of this is bad for me or my kids. It seems like people love to throw around terms like ‘toxic’, ‘banned’, ‘harmful’, ‘chemicals’, ‘unsafe’, etc…. but never really just breaking down the why.

Well, I decided to figure it out for myself….

The first thing the popped into my head, was the recent Sunscreen Ban in Hawaii. Honestly, I have never been to Hawaii, nor do I have any immediate plans to go anytime soon, but I am all about preserving our sea life, reefs and whatever else. However, if I am really being honest, my first thought reading this ‘ban’ was: but what about the actual human beings I am raising and supposed to be protecting?!?!

So here is your breakdown of the one of the ingredient bans in Hawaii AND what it can do to our kids (and us!):

OXYBENZONE

“The chemical not only kills the coral, it causes DNA damage in adults and deforms the DNA in coral in the larval stage, making it unlikely they can develop properly.”

Holy what??? Ok. I support the ban of this one, for the sake of our ocean life (coral reefs also protect our land!), but what does that have to do with humans?

I poured over articles/studies, specifically related to humans and the use of Oxybenzone and this is my take away:

Oxybenzone absorbs into our skin at a 97% absorption rate (meaning significant amounts make into our bloodstream, cells and organs!). In a study conducted by the CDC, of 2517 kids, ages 6 and older, Oxybenzone was found in almost all of their urine, indicating high levels of absorption.CDC (Center for Disease Control)

This, in and of itself, isn’t bad. If oxybenzone doesn’t cause any harm, then who cares if it is seeping into our body, blood, heart, lungs and cells?

Welp, turns out, Oxybenzone IS harmful to our bodies and here is what it does:
  • Produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations, lead to cell death and may be implicated in cardiovascular disease.

  • Causes endocrine disruption. Basically, this is hormone disruption, which can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Any system in the body controlled by hormones can be derailed by hormone disruptors.

  • Reproductive toxicity at high doses (think: accumulation in our body, like using it alllll summer long or all throughout our childhood!). Reproductive toxicity includes adverse effects on sexual function and fertility in adult males and females, as well as developmental toxicity in the offspring.

  • Bioaccumulative: this means it is shown to NOT leave our body. It accumulates, use after use, day after day, season after season…

  • Enhanced skin absorption… well, this is evident through the urine study. Almost anything you put ON your body will absorb into your bloodstream, but this particular ingredient does so at a faster and higher rate.

  • Causes organ system toxicity, specifically cardiovascular effects, when used in moderate (not just high) doses.

AND THAT’S A WRAP ON EVER USING OXYBENZONE EVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEERRRRR AGAIN!

I just love how much we care about our coral reefs and not our little daughter’s reproductive organs, our son’s hearts or their skins ability to stay healthy.

SOLUTION

Use MINERAL Sunscreens! Oxybenzone is in almost every single chemical sunscreen and works by absorbing the suns harmful rays. We now have mineral sunscreens, which contain Zinc Oxide and work by reflecting the harmful rays. If there is this other, safer, option out there, then why the heck aren’t we using it?!?!
Here is my recommendation: Beautycounter Mineral Sunscreen. We have a pool and live in Texas…. and this stuff works! I use the stick on my kiddos faces and the non-aerosol mist on their bodies! I also am a big supporter of just using rash guards, hats, shades and umbrellas! I have been using this, despite never having actually researched “bad” sunscreens, because I use so many of Beautycounter’s skin care products and follow their incredible advocacy efforts for safer beauty ingredients.

SIDE NOTE:
Just in case you were wondering what the giant, mass-producing skin care and sunscreen conglomerate Johnson & Johnson, who uses Oxybenzone in their sunscreen products, has to say about all of this: In a statement, released in 2017: “[We] are deeply committed to the health of people and the environment, and we adhere to a strict safety assurance process for every product we make, earning the trust of generations worldwide. With nearly four decades of safe use as a UV filter, oxybenzone is approved for use in over-the-counter (OTC) products by the US FDA, Health Canada, Australia, the European Union and many other countries whose health authorities recognize it as a safe and effective ingredient for broad-spectrum UV protection.1 As an industry leader in sun care we stand behind these health authorities and the safety of oxybenzone. confirming that oxybenzone does not have an effect on human hormone levels and reaffirming the filter’s safety. There have been some questions about the effect of oxybenzone on coral. Credible science does not support sunscreens as a cause of coral reef bleaching.” Awesome… #assholes