Sunscreen Safety: Look before you Lather!
September may be approaching, but for now, the summer sun is still sweltering. While magazine and blogs will remind us that the ultimate summer self-care DO is to wear sunscreen, most don’t mention some very important sunscreen DON’Ts.
If we’re taking the step to protect our hides from the sun’s harmful rays, it’s important to know if we’re causing unforeseen damage to our bodies and to the environment. Here at Wanderlust, we felt some pangs of disappointment to learn that the very cancer we try to prevent can actually be hastened by some sunscreens that we use to prevent it!
1. No spray sunscreen – Using spray sunscreens releases aerosol into the air, which means while you’re protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, you’re also contributing to the holes in our Ozone, strengthening those rays! Not only does aerosol weaken earth’s natural shield, but it also poses serious risks when inhaled.
2. No super-high SPFs – You might think you’re doing your skin a favor by lathering on those 75+ SPFs, but the reality is that higher SPFs protect from burns, but not from damaging UVAs. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) represents the protection from UVBs, not UVAs, which are cancer causing and suppress our immune system.
3. No Oxybenzone – If you go through your sunscreen cabinet, chances are you’ll spot this sneaky chemical in something. Oxybenzone contains estrogen and has been linked to causing endometriosis in elderly women. Studies have also shown that pregnant women with higher levels of oxybenzone had lower birth weight daughters.
4. No powder sunscreens – Powder sunscreens, made of zinc and titanium, often end up inhaled from a cloud of airborn particles when applied. Inhalation of these particles can cause cancer. These little particles can also be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin, also posing cancerous threats.
5. No Retinyl Palmitats - Though safe indoors, on sun-exposed skin Retinyl Palmitate may speed development of skin tumors and lesions. What’s worse – almost 25% of SPF-rated suncreens, makeups and moisturizers contain it! Scan your moisturizers to make sure that those products with Retinyl Palmitate are for nighttime or indoor use, only.
Click here to check out the EWG's complete list of sunscreens to avoid.