Clean Up: Sunscreen Ingredient Oxybenzone

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Sarasota Florida beach sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone toxic bad physical sunscreen natural sunscreen

Happy June! Now that it's practically summertime, sunscreen has become a necessity. I've previously rarely worn sunscreen on my body because I had a job that kept me out of daylight pretty much year-round. This is the first summer since I became more ingredient-conscious that I've actually looked into purchasing an all-over sunscreen, and in doing some research, I've discovered that a common sunscreen ingredient, oxybenzone, is quite toxic. Oxybenzone is a chemical sunscreen also found in lotions, lipstick and nail polish to preserve their deterioration under the sun, according to Truth in Aging.

EWG's Skin Deep gives oxybenzone a hazard score of 8 (out of 10), and a health concern hazard of moderate-to-high. The primary health concerns include allergic or photoallergic reactions (when UV rays cause a molecule to transform and the immune system to recognize it as foreign), but most of all, it seems to be known as a UV absorber. If you think about that for a while, you might come to the point of wondering whether oxybenzone is then absorbed by the skin. The answer, according to many sources, is "yes."

EWG states: "This chemical absorbs through the skin in significant amounts. It contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans according to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Truth in Aging says: "As a photocarcinogen, it has demonstrated an increase in the production of harmful free radicals and an ability to attack DNA cells; for this reason, it is believed to be a contributing factor in the recent rise of Melanoma cases with sunscreen users. Some studies have shown it to behave similarly to the hormone estrogen, suggesting that it may cause breast cancer. It has also been linked to contact eczema and allergies ... The FDA has approved the use of Oxybenzone as a safe and effective OTC sunscreen ingredient, but only in concentrations up to 6%."

Dermatologists seem to believe that oxybenzone is still one of the most effective sunscreens available right now and that use of sunscreen with a lower concentration of oxybenzone is safe. There are a number of physical sunscreens on the market, and you can read about recommended sunscreens and their ingredients at the sites below:

+ Paula's Choice: Best Sunscreens, Water-Resistant
+ EWG's Skin Deep: Sunscreen SPF 15-30

Other helpful links:
+ Truth In Aging: Oxybenzone
+ Paula's Choice: Oxybenzone
+ SkinCancer.Org: Sunscreen Safety
+ PubChem, NIH: Oxybenzone
+ CNN: Sunscreen
+ WebMD: Sun Safety Tips

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