Sunscreen Safety
Is Sunscreen Bad For You?

warning on sunscreen bottles

Is sunscreen Bad For You?  Yes, learn about Sunscreen Safety here!

You'll be surprised by the truth - read on for some important facts!  

We'll cover sunscreen dangers and The top 5 dangerous ingredients so........

don't miss a great recipe for homemade sunscreen and preventive suggestions below!

Sunscreen Dangers

To answer the question is sunscreen bad for you, ironic but true, yes, sunscreen is bad for you.  Conventional sunscreens can actually cause skin cancer along with increasing your risk for other diseases. 

As discussed on other pages here, what we put on our skin is absorbed by the body and eventually ends up in our blood stream.  Add sun and heat and we’re greatly intensifying the process. 

The FDA backed a study regarding various chemical compounds found in sunscreen.  They found the synthetic vit A that contains retinol and tetinyl palmitate and how it reacts to the sunlight becoming toxic to our system. 

Additionally, they found it can cause skin damage and skin cancer.  Oxybenzone a common ingredient in most sunscreens was found to be a link to hormone disruption and cell damage that again, can lead to skin cancer.

I also find it ironic sunscreen is responsible for a widespread vitamin D deficiency which is a vitamin proven to help us fight cancer!   (Not to mention the value to our bone health and the link between a lack of vitamin D and depression and more).

Other research and studies have exposed additional common ingredients in sunscreen that is bad for you.  Although there are many, we're going to take a closer look at sunscreen safety and the top 5 dangerous ingredients.

Sunscreen Dangers
The Top 5 Dangerous Ingredients

1. Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), including octyl-dimethyl PABA
2. Benzophenones, especially benzophenone-3  (linked to causing endometriosis)
3. Cinnamates, namely octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC)
4. Homosalate
5. 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC)

Let's look at each ingredient to better understand sunscreen dangers.....

Para-aminobenzoic acid best known as PABA - Since PABA reflects ultraviolet rays it is a common ingredient in sunscreen.  More recent research has been found and documented that PABA damages the skin because of its reflective agents. Although rays are reflected, the light is converted to heat, effectively searing the newly formed layers of skin.

PABA used directly on the skin contributes to releasing more oxygenated free radicals which are proven to aid in the development of cancer.  According to, PABA based sunscreens damage DNA, increasing the risk of sun related skin cancers. Also, PABA only protects against carcinoma, offering no protection against melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer.

Benzophenone - As it penetrates the skin it causes a photo sensitivity and increases the production of harmful free radicals which attacks DNA cells.  As Melanoma has increased in recent years it is believed this chemical has been a contributing factor.

It also mimics the effects of the female sex hormone estrogen – which increases the risk for endometriosis and breast cancer.

Cinnamates, octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC) -  A study conducted by the University of Zurich in Switzerland found Octyl-methoxycinnamate to increase the proliferation of breast cancer cells.  It also noted difference in testosterone levels associated with the use of Octyl-methoxycinnamate. ( March 2001 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives)

Homosalate -  Homosalate is a common sunscreen ingredient. Research indicates it is a weak hormone disruptor, and sunlight breaks down the chemical into harmful byproducts.  Homosalate has been shown to be an antagonist toward androgen and estrogen receptors in vitro. There is also evidence that homosalate can break down into more toxic products.

4-methyl-benzylidene camphor (4-MBC)  - It’s a UV filter and even though it has not been approved for use, it’s an active ingredient in many sunscreens.  European research has recommended the chemical not be used due to findings of thyroid toxicity and hormone disruption.  Additional research has also found estrogenic activity that reduces receptor sensitivity to estradiol which results in changes in reproductive organ and brain development regardless of the sex of the user.

All of these chemicals can be found in the urine of sunscreen users, it makes for quite a chemical cocktail showing that sunscreen is bad for you!

When Dr. Oz had Dr. Perry on his show, Dr Perry said these chemicals are interfering with naturally occurring hormones in our body.  This may increase your risk for various types of cancer. In particular, breast cancer.

Dr. Oz asked Dr. Perry what other concerns does he have about these chemicals in sunscreen other than cancer.  Dr. Perry said when these chemicals get into our body it can disrupt many things.  For example the fetus may be at risk for developmental issues and low birth weight.  The chemicals can even be transferred into a mothers breast milk.  The chemicals can cause early puberty in girls as well as low sperm counts in developing boys.

Hopefully it makes sense and you can understand why sunscreen is bad for you.

So what is Sunscreen Safety and what can you do?

Homemade Sunscreen


1 oz wheat germ oil which has a natural high SPF20.  If you can't find wheat germ oil, coconut, olive, sesame or hempseed will work but have a lower natural SPF.

1 oz. cocoa butter, or shea butter

1 ounce beeswax (offers waterproof protection)

5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil(s) if you want it to be scented. Most Common Essential Oils

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Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Fill a saucepan a couple inches high with water and turn the heat to medium. Put a cap on the glass jar without sealing it closed, and place the jar in the pan filled with water. As the ingredients in the jar get warm and soften, mix until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  Apply as needed.

Preventive Suggestions
Sunscreen Safety

First of all, just 10 minutes in the sun without sunscreen can lift your mood and enhance your health.  We all need Vit D and the various benefits of sunlight in moderation.  Like most things, too much can be harmful's a few sunscreen safety tips that offer practical protection.

If possible avoid sun between 10:00 - 4:00  shadow rule: A shadow that is longer than you are means UV exposure is low; a shadow that is shorter than you are means the UV exposure is high.

Dress for protection - Hats, cotton light colored clothes that provide coverage and/or sun protective fabric for extended exposure.  Sunscreen safety can be had in a variety of ways!

Look for sunscreens that are free of these dangerous chemicals  

The above ingredients can also be found in chapstick/lipsticks and various other products.  It's important to learn the chemicals to avoid and read labels in everything you buy. Sunscreen safety is only one precaution you should take see: Toxic Cosmetics for more information.

Don't be afraid to also try other recipes, skin care recipes they're easier than you think! 

Enjoy the sun in moderation and the healthy benefits it provides!

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