Toxins found in numerous sunscreens

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Summer is right here and it is the best time when people can enjoy time outside. We have heard that sunrays like UVA and UVB can burn the skin and may cause skin cancer in a long run. Therefore, professionals and dermatologists recommend sunscreen to prevent the harmful effect of sunrays. But cautious – not all sunscreens in the market are safe to use. Recent study showed that many brands of sunscreen can be damaging for your body.

Who conducted the study?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has recently released its fourth annual Sunscreen Study, which reviewed efficacy and safety of over 500 sunscreens currently on the market.  The group recommended only 39 sunscreens to use.

Why certain sunscreens are harmful?
Researchers found that ingredients present in many sunscreens are damaging in nature. The major toxic ingredients are:

 Oxybenzone - 60% of sunscreens in the market contain this toxic material. It blocks radiation, but penetrates in skin to fairly large amounts, and is a potential hormone disruptor.

Jane Houlihan, senior vice president of research at EWG says that it’s not known that oxybeneze might affect people when it gets in our bodies; it is known it penetrates the skin very readily. It’s found in almost all Americans, so we know people are exposed. But studies haven’t been done to know exactly what that means. FDA was neutral on the comment and said that they have conducted no research on oxybenzone.

Retinyl palmitate, or Vitamin A - New data from the FDA suggests this ingredient, when you put it on the skin, accelerates the growth of skin tumors and lesions.

Sunscreen Market Place

Four billion dollars a year are spent on sunscreens. 60% of Americans actively seek a tan, less than 30% use sunscreen while on...



vacation, and less than 20% use sunscreen year round.

The EWG claims that more than 84% of sun screen lotions with high SPF levels actually failed to protect sunbathers against all harmful rays, they quickly lose their effectiveness, or their chemical ingredients do more harm than good.

It’s also found that sun care industry in order to provide higher SPF levels in sunscreens, increases the chemical compounds in sunscreen to allow prolonged safe exposure to the suns rays. That way it can be more harmful. 

I know what are you thinking, which sunscreen is better to use. Here are some recommendations:

Dr. Dimitry Palceski, Reflections Dermatology Sunscreen recommendations:

1 – EltaMD UV Sport SPF 50
2 – EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46
3 – LaRoche Posay Anthelios SPF 40
4 – California Baby sunscreens
5 – Blue Lizard sunscreens

Dr. J. Matthew Knight, Knight Dermatology Institute Sunscreen recommendations:

1 – Blue Lizard sensitive skin sunscreen
2 – Neutrogena sunscreens
3 – Obagi sunscreens
4 – Mineral makeup (for women) with sunblock

Hope this information is useful for you in choosing the right sunscreen and helps you to enjoy your summer time outside.  Remember prevention is better than cure.

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11 Responses

  1. shailaja says:


    This really leaves me confused…..on one hand u are saying that we should not use high SPF sunscreens, because of no real added benefit (as shown by the chart) On the other hand, u are advising sunscreens with SPF 40-50..What is the basis of your recommendation?

    • Seascape says:


      To me, the chart looks like you get maybe 80% protection from low SPFs, but it looks like you don’t get almost to 100% until you’re at 50. I’ve gotten more tan using 45 SPF than using 70 SPF.

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