Growing up in Australia we’ve had the slogan Slip Slop Slap repeated to us that many times that as soon as we see a hint of summer warmth we are covered head to toe in a thick coat of creamy white sunscreen. But did you know that not all sunscreens are created equal and many have extremely dangerous chemicals? Our skin is the largest organ of our entire body it is only fitting that we do our best to look after it? Remember that anything you put onto the skin will get absorbed into the body and can have just as much of an effect on your health as diet and lifestyle choices. Too often we buy suncreen that has ingredients that we can’t pronounce let alone understand why they are in there. Don’t stress…we’re going help you make an educated choice when next purchasing sunscreen for you and your family. Here is a list of common ingredients found in standard sunscreens – we think you’re going to be a little bit shocked!
Transdermal is a term that relates to how sunscreen enters our body. According to the medical dictionary of the Merriam-Webster the official meaning to transdermal is, relating to, being, or supplying a medication in a form for absorption through the skin into the bloodstream (1). Meaning any product that we place on our skin can enter the body and directly pass into our bloodstream where the substance has a free pass to any area of our body. When a substance is not natural our body often finds it difficult to breakdown and eliminate therefore the toxic substances have nowhere to go and it will be stored in various parts of the body waiting to for the right opportunity to show the havoc it has caused within our body.
Let’s have a closer look at the top 5 chemical you should avoid:
This chemical is added to sunscreen is to absorb a range of UV rays which cause sunburn that we are trying to avoid. However, this chemical is diminished in the sun causing free radicals (nasty unpaired atoms that damage cells, DNA, and proteins in our body) potentially increasing the risk of the big C (cancer). These are the same free radicals that are known to fast track the aging process – now who want’s that? (2)(3)
These are injected into sunscreen to mask the disconcerting smell obvious to the consumer. The lists of fragrances used is an astounding 1500 long. To put it simply – if you see the word fragrances think “chemical sh*t storm”! Many of them can not be read on the label as they are often grouped together as “artificial fragrances”. These chemicals have been known to be contributing factors with allergies, birth defects, disrupt the nervous system and again cancer (4). These fragrances are so dangerous that public places are banning the regular use of fragrances into the air.
This chemical works in a similar manner as the avobenzone although much worse as it has been linked to actually causing melanoma rather than preventing it. Research has shown that girls born from women who use it during pregnancy tend to be a low birth weight. To add to the list of oxybenzone’s negative effect on your health it has also been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cellular damage (5)(6).
Parabens are easily found when reading ingredient labels as the scientific will include the word paraben within it. One of the most concerning side effects is that they mimic oestrogen and therefore potentially disrupting fertility, abnormalities in testes development, obesity, breast cancer, benign tumors of the uterus, or the digestive tract and allergies (7)(8).
5. Vitamin A – retinyl palmate
Now this one must sound strange? Vitamin A is great for our skin…isn’t it? When retinyl palmate is exposed to UV light it goes from being an antioxidant (the good guy) to free radicals (bad guys) that have been associated with genetic mutations that are linked to… yes, you guessed…cancer! Also toxic to the fetus of pregnant women, women that use it daily are risking brain swelling, developmental toxicities, cellular damage and organ toxicity to their unborn child (9).
After reading about the dangers of unnatural sunscreens you’re probably already reconsidering your choice of sunscreen, but here’s a little list of the benefits of natural sunscreen:
- Natural sunscreen protects your skin from sun damage and cancer by not only blocking UVA and UVB rays but by not adding dangerous chemicals that get absorbed into our body through our skin.
- Free from harmful chemicals that can cause ageing and free radical damage.
- You can be confident that you’re not harming your family while you’re trying your best to protect them.
Our favourite sunscreen is by Soleo Organics – their products were designed in Australia for Australians with all organic, plant based ingredients and free of all nasty chemicals. Soleo Organics SP30+ Suncreen is made using ONLY natural ingredients according to Naturopathic principles and contain:
- NO chemical UV-absorbers
- NO synthetic preservatives
- NO titanium dioxide
- NO benzoates
- NO petrochemicals
- NO artificial fragrances
- NO nano ingredients
Because Soléo sunscreen only contains natural ingredients it is ideal for young children, people with sensitive skin and the whole family. Soléo uses the revolutionary micronised zinc technology to provide comprehensive sun protection, without leaving your skin white. Soléo Organics have created a premium sunscreen using 100% organic and natural ingredients!
(Earth Working Group (EWG). Avobenzone. EWG. Fact Sheet)
(Karlsson I, Hillerström L, Stenfeldt AL, Mårtensson J, Börje A. Photodegradation of dibenzoylmethanes: potential cause of photocontact allergy to sunscreens. Chemical Research in Toxicology. November 2009. doi: 10.1021/tx900284e)
(Nascimento DF, Silva AC, Mansur CR, Presgrave Rde F, Alves EN, Silva RS, Ricci-Júnior E, de Freitas ZM, dos Santos EP. Characterization and evaluation of poly(epsilon-caprolactone) nanoparticles containing 2-ethylhexyl-p-methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, and benzophenone-3 in anti-solar preparations. Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. September 2012. PMID: 23035447)
(Cameron GJ Hayden, Michael S Roberts, Heather AE Benson. Systemic absorption of sunscreen after topical application. The Lancet. September 2, 1997. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)62032-6)
(Crinnion WJ. Toxic effects of the easily avoidable phthalates and parabens. Alternative Medicine Review. September 15, 2010. PMID: 2115562)
(Environmental Working Group (EWG). Parabens. EWG. Fact Sheet).