Every time we head out into the sunshine, we lather ourselves and our children with sunscreen to keep them safe from burns, sun poisoning and the many other risks that come along with increased sun exposure.
But what if the sunscreens we’re using to keep our children safe are actually more hurtful in the long run? Is keeping them safe today worth the risk of the long-term damage from the many dangerous chemicals used by most companies?
That question can only be answered with careful due diligence and a series of follow-up questions. However, we have included a few of the most important questions so that you can answer yourself - is your sunscreen safe to use?
What types of sunscreen are there and how do they work?
There are two basic kinds of sunscreens on the market – physical sunscreens, which contain natural minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and chemical sunscreens, which feature synthetic ingredients, like oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate. The first tends to “physically” block or reflect UV-A and UV-B rays, while the latter sinks into the skin to absorb and filter sunrays. Most often, it is the chemical sunscreens that tend to be hazardous.
What concerns are associated with the chemicals commonly found in sunscreen?
Most concerns stem from chemical sunscreens. Although the potential hazards vary from ingredient to ingredient, concerns can include skin allergies, hormone disruptions and premature skin aging. It’s also possible that although sunscreens are designed to protect your skin, the use of certain chemicals can even speed the growth of malignant skin cells and tumors.
For more information on the potential effects of particular chemicals, try this article at Women’s Health magazine titled “6 Scary Sunscreen Ingredients and 6 Safe SPF Products.”
Are there safe alternatives to sunscreen?
Absolutely. First of all, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are recognized as low hazard by the Environmental Working Group. Examples of these include Real Purity’s own sunscreens – the Sunscreen Paba (on sale for $9.00) and the Sunscreen Zinc Oxide. Because these are the primary ingredients used in most physical sunscreens, these types of sunscreens – as well as those labeled “natural” and/or organic – are frequently safe to use, although you should always check their full list of ingredients.
For a full list of the safest sunscreens to use, you can visit the Environmental Working Group’s page on sunscreen.
For more information on sunscreen toxicity, widespread chemical use and the associated potential hazards, you can also check out this article written by the Environmental Working Group, titled “The Trouble With Sunscreen Chemicals.”