Hormone Disruption from Bioaccumulative Chemical Sunscreens, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and… (2022)

Hormone Disruption from Bioaccumulative Chemical Sunscreens, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Zinc Oxide

Over 97% of participants tested positive for the chemical oxybenzone in their urine in a 2008 CDC study.

Hormone Disruption from Bioaccumulative Chemical Sunscreens, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and… (1)

What the hell is oxybenzone and why is it in your body? Oxybenzone is the most widely used chemical for UV filters that you’ve never heard of. But wait there’s more than just this persistent body burden going on here. Oxybenzone has been associated with significant hormone disruption in animal studies, smaller birthweight in human babies, and its known bioaccumulative effects are now being banned for environmental destruction. Yet it is still found in over 60% of sunscreens on the market. This chemical is being banned for fish, but hey you can still use it. Should you? This the question I began asking myself this year.

Hormone Disruption from Bioaccumulative Chemical Sunscreens, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and… (2)

BACKGROUND — My story begins in the beautiful sun-drenched state of California where I grew up 7 miles from the beach. The weather is so balmy and nice that it’s easy to spend every season outdoors. I’m a marathon runner, a water polo player and swimmer, beach bum, and a lover of hiking in high altitudes. As a California native I’ve dutifully slathered on the highest SPF I could find for years, worn hats, sunglasses and shunned roasting myself poolside for vanity. I would rather spend my skin cells on adventures outdoors and the orange leather look never jived with my punk sensibilities. I’m also a classical archaeology major, trained in Italy. I spent 10 hour days in the blazing Sicilian sun doing backbreaking labor in large open trenches. Sunscreen was not optional and we all slathered it on multiple times a day. I’ve followed the sage advice of that nineties Baz Luhrmann song “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen.” But it’s never done any harm to me, right?

Well actually now I’m not so sure. I began researching the ingredients in sunscreen when I was pregnant last year. I couldn’t find a lot solid information, just recommendations on random blogs. I was so overwhelmed keeping track of all the other things I wasn’t or was supposed to be doing that sunscreen fell by the wayside and I continued to use the products that I had always used. I use the lotion sunscreen because I never miss a spot like I do with the spray stuff. I wear Aveeno moisturizer with SPF 30 every single day. I like SPF 50 Coppertone Water Babies Pure and Simple and Neutrogena Sport Face for my face for long runs, marathons and surfing. Whenever I’m getting geared up for a run I put on my Sport Face and feel just a little bit more motivated, just saying I got on my Sport Face! My husband prefers SPF 70 Neutrogena Sun Defense in the spray can for its ease of application and uses whatever face sunscreen I have on hand. We also keep travel size bottles of random types/brands stashed here and there, in the glove compartment, in the Camel Bak, etc. for hikes and unexpected reapplication.

Then I had my son and I became a bit more aware coming out of the fog of the newborn stage that he needed to wear sunscreen too but I didn’t know what to choose. Were the products we already had safe? I mean Coppertone Water Babies is for babies, it says so right on the label. Then I read that no sunscreen is actually recommended for babies younger than 6 months, as they should be protected from the sun with protective clothing, shade, and avoidance strategies. Even further, babies older than six months, children and pregnant women should wear mineral sunscreens only. Why I had I never heard this before? Why wasn’t this on the label? What is actually in my sunscreen?

Hormone Disruption from Bioaccumulative Chemical Sunscreens, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and… (3)

TECHNICAL INFORMATION — So I started reading. Commercial sunscreen is divided into three categories of UV filter types; chemical, mineral and combined chemical and mineral preparations. The first are the most familiar products which usually contain some combination of avobenzone, oxybenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene. These organic chemical absorbers are also called benzophenone compounds. Chemical sunscreens are combinations of these chemicals because they work most effectively when paired together as each one has inherent weaknesses and instabilities. These chemicals work by absorbing the UV radiation through chemical reactions (Gilbert, et al, 2012). The second group of products are often referred to as mineral sunscreens because they contain metal oxides like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are often referred to in scientific literature as inorganic chemicals. Mineral sunscreens work by reflecting UV radiation based on Rayleigh scattering and also a smaller portion of absorption. The third type combines both organic and inorganic filters for wider spectrum protection. This type can prove troublesome because I’ve actually purchased sunscreen that said zinc in big fat letters on the front only to find that it also contained chemical UV filters.

Hormone Disruption from Bioaccumulative Chemical Sunscreens, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and… (4)
(Video) Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)
Hormone Disruption from Bioaccumulative Chemical Sunscreens, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and… (5)

ROUTES OF EXPOSURE — to the UV filters in sunscreen are transdermal, inhalation, and inadvertent ingestion, with this last exposure method evidenced most often in children. (Maipas & Nicolopoulou-Stamati, 2015). Inhalation risk is increasing with the more widespread use of spray-on sunscreens. Additionally, chemical UV filters are absorbed in the bloodstream whereas inorganic UV filters sit on the surface of the skin and are not absorbed, except in nanoparticle formulations and this is highly dependent on particle size and still debated with ongoing research as studies have resulted in different findings. Further, persistent chemicals like oxybenzone have been found to remain in the water after bathing and swimming, and even in wastewater far from the source of contamination so water contamination is likely also an exposure risk although this is not documented in any of the sources I read.

Here are the chemical profiles for the products I have in my bathroom cabinet. I’ve changed my game up a bit and have highlighted my new products in italics and my traditional products are left plain. Oxybenzone is identified in red because it poses the most significant risks to human health and is nearly ubiquitous in chemical sunscreens.

Hormone Disruption from Bioaccumulative Chemical Sunscreens, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and… (6)

As you can see every sunscreen I was using before contained chemical UV filters. Each of these products are a veritable cocktail of chemicals, which have their own risks and impacts to human health. Chemical sunscreens are always combined in consumer products because no chemical sunscreen is either stable or effective alone. As you can see in the table above each chemical preparation included several types of UV filters. So to say that any chemical alone has not shown negative effects is nearly pointless as it is always paired with another chemical sunscreen, most often avobenzone or oxybenzone. I found little evidence of analysis on the synergistic effects of these chemicals despite the fact that they are always used together.

BREAKDOWN OF EACH CHEMICAL RISK — Sunscreen absorption is the most common exposure risk and it occurs in the intended application of the product. he break down of the product on the skin through chemical reactions can also produce adverse effects. Photostability is the ability of the UV filter to absorb and deflect the energy of radiation from the skin. This involves a complex chemical process and heat transfer. The full implications of this reaction on human health is debated among scientists. The degradation of photostability, thus the failure of the UV filter to adequately absorb and deflect radiation from the skin occurs for the following reasons “isomerization, fragmentation, reaction to other molecules or production of free radicals” (Nash & Tanner, 2014). The risks involved with photoinstability may include photoirritation, phototoxicity, and photoallergic reactions and would also include increased exposure to UV radiation as the UV filter failed.

Endocrine disruptors are coming under increased scrutiny as the ubiquitous use of chemicals in personal care products has existed long enough to show long term changes and patterns. The most significant effects of endocrine disruption are seen in reproductive health systems as cancers, infertility, and measurable hormonal changes. Several chemicals used in sunscreen have known endocrine disrupting effects.

OXYBENZONE is one of the most widely used chemicals in sunscreen and coming under intense scrutiny and regulation in recent years. EWG classifies this UV filter with the highest hazard score of all the sunscreens rated (8/10). This is the chemical that is deemed unsafe for reefs and marine life and is being banned in international markets, Hawaii is the first state in the US to ban this chemical (Glause, 2008). Oxybenzone has a persistent body burden. It has been detected in nearly all people tested, found in human plasma, urine and breast milk. Oxybenzone has shown several hormone disrupting effects such as estrogenic, anti-androgenic effects, and is associated with birth weight changes in human babies. Oxybenzone has also reported the highest allergic and photoallergic reactions. Animal studies have shown even more significant effects such as lowered sperm density and changes in oestrus cycle length, however critics say these are not in line with actual human doses (Maipas & Nicolopoulou-Stamati, 2015, Gilbert et al, 2015).

OCTINOXATE aka OCTYL METHOXYCINNAMATE is considered a cinnamate based chemical has exhibited impairments in hormone release in animal studies, which may impact normal function of the pituitary and thyroid glands. In animal studies of rats delayed sexual maturation, central nervous system toxicity and additional organ toxicities were also found Octyl methoxycinnamate can penetrate the stratum corneum and enter the bloodstream in humans. This chemical is also banned for use in Hawaii, as it is not reef safe.

OCTOCRYLENE is also reported as one of the most photoallergic and allergic responses along with Oxybenzone and although not studied thus far it is similar in structure to other chemical UV filters and likely penetrate the stratum corneum. (Maipas & Nicolopoulou-Stamati, 2015, EWG 2018).

HOMOSALATE & OCTISALATE — homosalate and octisalate are salicylate compounds and have the lowest reported incidence of photoallergic and allergic skin reactions and limited evidence of endocrine disruption according to some sources, although others report that it does, showing anti-oestrogenic, androgenic and anti-androgenic activity too.

(Video) How Hormones Influence You and Your Mind

AVOBENZONE has been quite popular in recent formulations as it provides excellent sun protection and no evidence of hormone disruption, however it is unstable in sunlight, yeah you read that correctly, so it must be paired with other chemicals to stabilize it and when the product breaks down it may cause allergic reactions. (EWG Sunscreen Guide, 2018).

TITANIUM DIOXIDE and ZINC OXIDE are inorganic mineral sunscreens and extremely effective UV filters. According to EWG there is no known endocrine disruption caused by these minerals, however two peer reviewed studies, Maipas & Nicolopoulou-Stamati, 2015 and Smijs & Pavel, 2011, have found that nanoparticulate formulations cause reproductive toxicity in rats, mice, fish and earthworms.

RISKS OF NANOPARTICLES — Although I’ve begun to use mineral sunscreens I’m now aware that nanoparticulate minerals are widely used in the formulation of these products. Nanotechnology manipulates matter at the nanometer scale. Nanoparticles are used in the preparations of mineral sunscreens to avoid the gritty feel and white cast of traditional products but it is a relatively new technology, “toxicity concern about nanoparticles in sunscreens is due to their small size, their ability to evade immunologic defence mechanisms, to form complexes with protein” (Gilbert, et al, 2012). The small size of nanoparticles increases their reactive surface area which directly impacts their particle toxicity and their small size also enhances their ability to be absorbed into deeper layers of the skin.

Hormone Disruption from Bioaccumulative Chemical Sunscreens, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and… (7)

The use of nanoparticles is an emerging science and it’s not limited to sunscreens and personal care products. The use of nanoparticles is most often not labeled. I’ve even discovered through this research that my favorite mineral based makeup uses nanoparticles and now I’m switching to a new product with some trepidation. There are significant adverse health risks associated with these formulations. Surprisingly not being broadcast as loudly is that titanium dioxide nanoparticles are also not reef safe, as the reef can ingest the small sized particles (Glause, 2018).

Due the widespread use and relatively little study on nanoparticles I think more research is required to ensure their safety in consumer products, particularly the risks associated with aerosolized or powdered forms. It is difficult to identify whether or not a product formulation uses nanoparticles since labeling is not required. Calling the product information line or purchasing products that do label which of their products contain nanoparticles, like Badger, are the best ways to be informed consumers.

BODY BURDEN — So now that I’m woke and using mineral sunscreens I’m safe right? Well not so fast. I can’t even recall all of the sunscreens I used as a kid, Bullfrog, Coppertone, Hawaiian Tropic, NO AD, ad nauseum. Although it’s really great I’m changing my ways and preventing further exposure to chemical sunscreens, the persistent body burden of oxybenzone means that it’s already in my system. As the 2008 CDC report discovered 97% of those tested had oxybenzone present in their urine, the levels were higher for women and girls than for men and boys. Organizations are seeking a safety regulations for this chemical but due to industry push-back no rulings have been made. Additionally because chemicals like oxybenzone hang around in the water long after the bathers have left, it means that I will continue to be exposed to these chemicals when I’m swimming with people who use them. Like second-hand smoke I will share some of the exposure even though I’m making different choices for myself.

DOES HIGH SPF EVEN MATTER? — Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the rating system used to identify the levels of protection a UV filter offers against UVA only. SPF 15 as a multiplicative factor of the body is 15 times stronger than the natural defenses of your skin alone. SPF has diminishing returns so 30 is not twice as strong as 15. The increases in protection are like an asymptote, the increased benefit becomes smaller and smaller as the SPF number increases but never quite hitting a risk of zero. Like a mile per gallon rating on a vehicle, your mileage with SPF may very. Lab conditions to mimic sunlight exposure are difficult to correctly calibrate and users may use more or less than the prescribed amount. Procter & Gamble, the personal care product giant, is fighting to cap all SPF ratings at 50, citing evidence that lab testing of competitor products rated at 100 SPF vacillated widely between SPF ratings of 35 to 75 across 5 different laboratories, but nowhere near close to the 100 SPF on the label. (Badger.com, 2018).

Hormone Disruption from Bioaccumulative Chemical Sunscreens, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and… (8)

Even more interesting from a consumer point of view is that higher numbers of SPF aren’t always better for our health. I assumed that more is better and used the highest SPF products I could find, with many of my products topping out at 70+ SPF. Even now my facial mineral sunscreen is SPF 50 but many studies show that higher SPF sunscreens contain a higher concentration of active ingredients in order to provide such numbers. This increases the amount of exposure and therefore increases the risks of negative health impacts. So don’t go crazy on the SPF ratings. Something between SPF 30–50 is the most effective range, and apply a sufficient amount to coat the skin and reapply as directed. All sunscreens degrade over time and need to be reapplied every few hours in the sun, regardless of SPF rating or chemical or mineral composition.

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF REGULATION? IS THERE A FUTURE?

(Video) How to increase HAPPY Hormones in Brain| Happiness |खुशी का रसायन | Peeyush Prabhat

“The Food and Drug Administration has failed miserably in its duty to protect the public from toxic chemicals like oxybenzone in personal care products. At the request of industry lobbyists, including Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who represented the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, the agency has delayed final sunscreen safety standards for nearly 30 years. FDA issued a new draft of the standards last October under pressure from EWG, but continues to delay finalizing them at the behest of the regulated industry.” — Environmental Working Group

The more I discover about weak consumer regulations in the US, the more I feel like this statement is just an adlib, and I could just insert into this statement any dangerous chemical, any industry and any federal agency and it would actually be true. When is the welfare of the American people going to come before the economic profit of a corporation or industry? When will the regulatory bodies built for the purpose of protecting us actually start to do so? In such a capitalist system we must become informed consumers and fight back with our dollars. The only thing we can do is to contact our representatives, purchase products from corporations that adhere to higher standards and provide transparency in their labeling, and check international regulations as EU are often higher and products with these ratings are often easy to find. We must protect ourselves because no regulatory body is really acting in our best interest.

CAVEAT EMPTOR — I don’t foresee any comprehensive action by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate or identify the risks of sunscreen use. In light of changing international regulations for reef-safe products I hope that oxybenzone based sunscreen will be phased out entirely. This regulation will not prevent companies from using regrettable substitutions so consumers should remain vigilant about the preparation of their sunscreen. Due to the anti-regulatory posture in the US consumers must protect themselves from the hidden dangers of sunscreens, namely the hormone damaging effects and the persistent body burden. The most at-risk populations for the product class of chemical sunscreens are pregnant women and children, and women considering pregnancy should likely consider this guidance as well. The relatively unstudied risks of nanoparticulate absorption, inhalation and ingestion are risks for everyone. The majority of studies on the risks of inhalation toxicity have been from occupational studies which include mostly men, so men should not consider themselves exempt from these risks.

WHAT SHOULD YOU USE? — As with any risk in our environment the best thing you can do to be a healthy and sun-safe consumer is to limit your exposure. This doesn’t mean never go outside or just use 2 gallons of mineral sunscreen and call it good. Think critically about your activities outdoors and use a multifactor approach to sun-safety. Avoid activities in the noon-day sun, wear wide brimmed hats and protective clothing when outdoors. Active brands now offer several products with ratings of Ultraviolet Protective Factor (UPF). UPF clothing blocks both UVA and UVB rays. A rating of 50+ is ideal and REI has a handy article for help selecting these products here. Children should wear UPF rated rash guards with their bathing suits to limit sun exposure and also limit the amount of sunscreen necessary. Even Target and Old Navy sell cute and affordable options for rash guards now. Rash guard is a strange name but it’s a garment that was developed for surfers to prevent rash and chafing from repeated contact with sand and the surfboard.

Ditch the chemical sunscreens in favor of mineral based sunscreens from reputable brands like Badger and Thinksport. From an economic standpoint there is a negligible difference in price between name brand chemical and mineral preparations, although fewer generic store brand mineral products exist at this time. SPF ratings between 30–50 are sufficient. If you are reapplying several times per day consider other mitigation strategies. Cream or lotion preparations are preferred as the minerals are applied in a stable solution whereas the spray on formulations aerosolize micronized particles which can travel deep into the lungs. Just avoid spray on products, the complete risks of inhalation toxicity are unknown due to lack of study, but preliminary findings are alarming and prudent avoidance is advised. The cans aren’t easily recycled either. To view a comprehensive list of safe sunscreen products checkout the Environmental Working Group’s 2018 Guide to Sunscreen and you can even see how your current products stack up to the competition. Remember to research your products and fight with your dollars, only you have your best interests in mind.

Hormone Disruption from Bioaccumulative Chemical Sunscreens, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and… (9)

FINAL THOUGHTS — Through this research I’ve found a few key takeaways; sunscreen poses a significant endocrine risk, despite widespread sunscreen use incidence of malignant melanoma is steadily increasing (Bora et al, Krause et al) and SPF 15 is actually pretty good.

So I’m not sure if I need sunscreen as much I thought I did. When I’m taking my kid out for a walk around the neighborhood now I just put on a hat and sunglasses and make sure the top of the stroller is up. I’m no longer reaching for the spray bottle of SPF 50 every time I go outside. Sure if we’re headed down to Ladybird Lake or Deep Eddy I’m packing the Alba mineral sunscreen but I’m also sitting in the shade and wearing a hat. I’m still on the fence about using nanoparticles in my sunscreen. I can’t find a decent daily moisturizer with a non-nano mineral formulation so I’m left weighing the risks between nanoparticles and lesser toxic chemical sunscreens like avobenzone and homosalate. I’m switching to Badger for most of my regular sunscreen needs and I will keep checking the EWG sunscreen report every spring. I’m not going to stop living my life or stay inside. I’m just going to use less sunscreen in general and make sure what I am using is safe. I’m unsure what to do with the pile of half used sunscreen in my bathroom but I’m going check first to see if it’s safe to put in the regular trash….

SOURCES —

Bora, N. S., Mazumder, B., & Chattopadhyay, P. (2018). Prospects of topical protection from ultraviolet radiation exposure: a critical review on the juxtaposition of the benefits and risks involved with the use of chemoprotective agents. The Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 29(3), 256–268. https://doi.org/10.1080/09546634.2017.1364691

CDC: Americans Carry Body Burden of Toxic Sunscreen Chemical. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2018, from https://www.ewg.org/research/cdc-americans-carry-body-burden-toxic-sunscreen-chemical

Day, L. (2014). Vitamin D and sunlight. Early Years Educator, 16(4), 16–18. https://doi.org/10.12968/eyed.2014.16.4.16

(Video) What Are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals? Makeup And Medicine

Dunford, R., Salinaro, A., Cai, L., Serpone, N., Horikoshi, S., Hidaka, H., & Knowland, J. (n.d.). Chemical oxidation and DNA damage catalysed by inorganic sunscreen ingredients. FEBS Letters, 418(1–2), 87–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0014-5793(97)01356-2

Gilbert, E., Pirot, F., Bertholle, V., Roussel, L., Falson, F., & Padois, K. (n.d.). Commonly used UV filter toxicity on biological functions: review of last decade studies. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 35(3), 208–219. https://doi.org/10.1111/ics.12030

Glusac, E. (2018, May 3). Hawaii Passes Bill Banning Sunscreen That Can Harm Coral Reefs. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/03/travel/hawaii-sunscreen-ban.html

Kostyuk, V., Potapovich, A., Albuhaydar, A. R., Mayer, W., De Luca, C., & Korkina, L. (2017). Natural Substances for Prevention of Skin Photoaging: Screening Systems in the Development of Sunscreen and Rejuvenation Cosmetics. Rejuvenation Research, 21(2), 91–101. https://doi.org/10.1089/rej.2017.1931

Krause, M., Klit, A., Jensen, M. B., Søeborg, T., Frederiksen, H., Schlumpf, M., … Drzewiecki, K. T. (n.d.). Sunscreens: are they beneficial for health? An overview of endocrine disrupting properties of UV-filters. International Journal of Andrology, 35(3), 424–436. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2605.2012.01280.x

Lademann, J., Weigmann, H.-J., Rickmeyer, C., Barthelmes, H., Schaefer, H., Mueller, G., & Sterry, W. (1999). Penetration of Titanium Dioxide Microparticles in a Sunscreen Formulation into the Horny Layer and the Follicular Orifice. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 12(5), 247–256. https://doi.org/10.1159/000066249

Lodén, M., Beitner, H., Gonzalez, H., Edström, D. W., Åkerström, U., Austad, J., … Wulf, H. C. (n.d.). Sunscreen use: controversies, challenges and regulatory aspects. British Journal of Dermatology, 165(2), 255–262. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2133.2011.10298.x

Maipas, S., & Nicolopoulou-Stamati, P. (2015). Sun lotion chemicals as endocrine disruptors. Hormones (Athens, Greece), 14(1), 32–46.

Montenegro, Lucia, Turnaturi, R., Parenti, C., & Pasquinucci, L. (2018). In Vitro Evaluation of Sunscreen Safety: Effects of the Vehicle and Repeated Applications on Skin Permeation from Topical Formulations. Pharmaceutics, 10(1), 27. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics10010027

Nash, J. (2006). Human Safety and Efficacy of Ultraviolet Filters and Sunscreen Products. Dermatologic Clinics, 24(1), 35–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.det.2005.09.006

Nash, J. F., & Tanner, P. R. (2014). Relevance of UV filter/sunscreen product photostability to human safety. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, 30(2–3), 88–95. https://doi.org/10.1111/phpp.12113

Smijs, T. G., & Pavel, S. (2011). Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens: focus on their safety and effectiveness. Nanotechnology, Science and Applications, 4, 95–112. https://doi.org/10.2147/NSA.S19419

Sunscreens, E. 2018 G. to. (n.d.). EWG’s 2018 Guide to Safer Sunscreens. Retrieved June 27, 2018, from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/executive-summary/

(Video) Avoid These Chemicals Tanking Testosterone, Raising Estrogen w/ Anthony Jay, PhD.

What Is SPF Sunscreen? — Sun Protection Factor explained by Badger. (n.d.). Retrieved July 9, 2018, from https://www.badgerbalm.com/s-30-what-is-spf-sunscreen-sun-protection-factor.aspx

FAQs

Does sunscreen cause hormonal imbalance? ›

Some argue sunscreen is a hormone disruptor and can affect how estrogen and other hormones act in the body by blocking them or mimicking them, which throws off the body's hormonal balance. However, Dr. Slagel points out that sunscreen is used in such low doses that the risk of hormone disruption is low. Dr.

What ingredients in sunscreen are hormone disruptors? ›

In the United States these typically include aminobenzoic acid, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone. Oxybenzone has received the worst press because of concerns that it may act as what is known as a hormone disrupter.

Does sunscreen produce estrogen? ›

The Environmental Working Group recommends avoiding sunscreens that contain oxybenzone. Octinoxate -- the most widely used UVB-absorbing agent in sunscreen today, octinoxate produces estrogen-like activity and may also target thyroid function.

Is avobenzone a hormone disruptor? ›

Avobenzone can disrupt the endocrine system and has been shown to block the effects of testosterone in cellular studies (Klopcic 2017). In one study, avobenzone was detected in serum samples at levels nine times above the FDA's cutoff for systemic exposure (Matta 2020).

Which sunscreens are hormone disruptors? ›

BP-3 and OMC are two common sunscreen ingredients that are also known to have endocrine-disrupting potential 8. While they are mainly used as UV filter in sunscreens, they are also prevalent in air, drinking water, cosmetics, fragrances and plastic packagings, providing additional routes of exposure to humans 9.

What is the safest sunscreen ingredient? ›

For now, if you are concerned about health effects, the safest choice is a so-called “mineral” or “physical” sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, dermatologists say. Those are only sunscreen ingredients that the FDA says are “generally recognized as safe and effective.”

What is the best chemical free sunscreen? ›

Healthline's picks for the best natural sunscreens
  • Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46.
  • MAELOVE Sun Protector SPF 30.
  • Coola Organic Mineral Sun Silk Crème.
  • AbsoluteJOI Daily Hydrating Moisturizing Cream with SPF 40.
  • Badger Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Natural Mineral Sunscreen Cream Kids Clear Sport.

Does sunscreen affect thyroid? ›

Some ingredients commonly found in sunscreens are known endocrine disrupters. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals and other substances that interfere with the normal functioning of your body's endocrine system. Endocrine glands are hormone-producing glands like the thyroid and adrenals.

What sunscreen does not have oxybenzone and octinoxate? ›

My 5 Recommended Sunscreens (Without Oxybenzone & Octinoxate)
  • Paula's Choice – RESIST Wrinkle Defense SPF 30.
  • Paula's Choice – DEFENSE Essential Glow Mineral Moisturizer SPF 30.
  • Purito – Centella Green Level Unscented Sun SPF50+PA++++
  • Elta MD – Physical Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF41.
  • Supergoop – Glowscreen SPF40.

What sunscreens are not avobenzone? ›

  • avobenzone free sunscreen.
  • blue lizard sunscreen.
  • bare republic mineral sunscreen.
  • mineral sunscreen.

Is avobenzone the same as benzene? ›

Avobenzone is an organic compound having the chemical formula C20H22O3 while benzene is an organic compound having the chemical formula C6H6. The key difference between avobenzone and benzene is that avobenzone is a common product in sunscreen products, whereas benzene is not used as an ingredient in sunscreen products ...

Is avobenzone the same as oxybenzone? ›

Summary – Oxybenzone vs Avobenzone

The key difference between oxybenzone and avobenzone is that oxybenzone is safe to be used in sunscreen that is applied on human skin whereas avobenzone is not safe to be used in sunscreen because it can degrade in the sun and produce harmful radicals.

Does zinc oxide affect hormones? ›

Low levels of ZnO NPs through stimulation of the glands cause increase in the Estrogen secretion. But high levels of ZnO NPs because of destructive effects on the ovary can cause decrease in the Estrogen secretion.

What does oxybenzone do to hormones? ›

As a hormone disruptor to coral, it also causes hormone disruption in humans, affecting estrogen production particularly in women and testosterone production in men. At least one study showed oxybenzone exposure lead to lower testosterone levels in adolescent boys, as well as thyroid problems in both men and women.

Is there a natural sunscreen? ›

Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide Are the Only Natural Sunscreen Active Ingredients. As we mentioned before, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the only ingredients approved by the FDA to give your sunscreen a natural SPF. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are minerals, naturally found in the earth.

What are the worst sunscreens? ›

Most Toxic Sunscreens to Avoid
  • COOLA Classic Body Sunscreen Spray, Peach Blossom, SPF 70.
  • Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100.
  • Banana Boat Ultra Defense Clear Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100.
  • Banana Boat Kids MAX Clear Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100.
  • Australian Gold Botanical Natural Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70.
11 Jan 2022

What ingredients should not be in sunscreen? ›

What Ingredients To Avoid in SPF Sunscreens
  • Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone has been a topic of discussion for years, and it is one of the most popular sunscreen ingredients on the market. ...
  • Benzene. Benzene is a chemical commonly used for manufacturing plastics, pesticides, and even cigarettes. ...
  • Octinoxate. ...
  • Silicones. ...
  • Fragrance.

Does La Roche Posay have endocrine disruptors? ›

La Roche-Posay formulas with BHT contain a very small concentration of BHT to help the product's stability. Studies have shown that the toxicity of this ingredient is unrelated to cosmetic use, and the World Health Organization has determined it is not an endocrine disruptor.

What sunscreen do doctors recommend? ›

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone use sunscreen that offers the following: Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays) SPF 30 or higher.

What brand of sunscreen is safest? ›

8 Clean Sunscreens
  • Unsun Hydrating Full Coverage Body Lotion SPF 30. ...
  • Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30. ...
  • Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen. ...
  • Saie Sunvisor. ...
  • The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sun Cream SPF 50. ...
  • MARA Algae + Zinc Sea Kale Sunscreen Serum. ...
  • Supergoop Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40.
30 Aug 2022

Which sunscreens do not contain carcinogens? ›

Badger Balm, Blue Lizard, All Good, California Baby, Annmarie SkinCare, Babo Botanicals, and Poofy Organics are only a few examples of brands that offer non-toxic sunscreen options with clean, safe, and organic ingredients.

What can you use instead of sunscreen? ›

Here are a few natural ways to help.
  • Wear Clothing. Clothes are the best sunblock. ...
  • Eat Well. Eating foods rich in healthy fats and antioxidants helps protect your skin from damage, including UV damage. ...
  • Astaxanthin. ...
  • Red Raspberry Seed Oil. ...
  • Carrot Seed Oil. ...
  • Wheat Germ Oil. ...
  • Sesame Oil. ...
  • Coconut Oil.
2 Jun 2018

Can sunscreen cause liver damage? ›

Also in 2017, scientists found that avobenzone can turn toxic when exposed to chlorine and potentially lead to kidney and liver dysfunction.

Does sunscreen lower testosterone levels? ›

A recent study in JAMA found that chemical ingredients from sunscreen were detected in the bloodstream after one use, sometimes for days after. These ingredients are also detected in breast milk, and have been associated with lower testosterone levels in teenage boys.

Is oxybenzone a hormone disruptor? ›

Studies show a strong link between oxybenzone and hormone abnormalities [6]. Additionally, this endocrine disruptor can be especially harmful to pregnant women. A recent study has shown that it is highly absorbed into the bloodstream and can negatively impact the fetus [7].

Does Cetaphil sunscreen contain oxybenzone? ›

This fragrance free, paraben free and chemical free active formula is hypoallergenic and helps preserve the skin's delicate microbiome. This 100% mineral formula is completely free of harsh chemical ingredients, like avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate and PABA, that can irritate sensitive skin.

Does Cerave sunscreen contain oxybenzone? ›

Key Ingredients: 100% Mineral Sunscreen: Zinc oxide & Titanium dioxide sunscreen filters that reflects the sun's rays. Does not contain oxybenzone or avobenzone.

Is Neutrogena sunscreen safe now? ›

July 15, 2021 -- Consumers should stop using certain brands of spray-on sunscreen products made by Johnson & Johnson. The company has issued a voluntary recall after finding low levels of benzene, a known cancer-causing agent, in some samples.

Does sunscreen decrease testosterone? ›

Chemical absorption levels

Research has shown a potential link between oxybenzone and lower testosterone levels in adolescent boys, hormone changes in men, and shorter pregnancies and disrupted birth weights in babies. However, researchers caution about assuming an association between exposure and those outcomes.

Does sunscreen affect fertility? ›

Nearly half of the ingredients used to block out UV light mimic the effects of progesterone, the female hormone, thus preventing sperm cells from functioning normally.

Does zinc oxide affect hormones? ›

Low levels of ZnO NPs through stimulation of the glands cause increase in the Estrogen secretion. But high levels of ZnO NPs because of destructive effects on the ovary can cause decrease in the Estrogen secretion.

Does sunscreen cause endometriosis? ›

Women in the top 25% of concentrations of one sunscreen agent, 2,4-dihydroxybenzophenone, had a significantly greater rate of endometriosis than did those in the bottom 75%.

Does sunscreen affect thyroid? ›

Some ingredients commonly found in sunscreens are known endocrine disrupters. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals and other substances that interfere with the normal functioning of your body's endocrine system. Endocrine glands are hormone-producing glands like the thyroid and adrenals.

What does oxybenzone do to hormones? ›

As a hormone disruptor to coral, it also causes hormone disruption in humans, affecting estrogen production particularly in women and testosterone production in men. At least one study showed oxybenzone exposure lead to lower testosterone levels in adolescent boys, as well as thyroid problems in both men and women.

Is avobenzone the same as benzene? ›

Avobenzone is an organic compound having the chemical formula C20H22O3 while benzene is an organic compound having the chemical formula C6H6. The key difference between avobenzone and benzene is that avobenzone is a common product in sunscreen products, whereas benzene is not used as an ingredient in sunscreen products ...

Does zinc oxide cause infertility? ›

Several studies have reported that ZnO NPs might induce cytotoxic effects on the male reproductive system, compromising male fertility.

Is Mineral sunscreen best? ›

“The best sunscreen is the one you will use, regardless of whether it's mineral or chemical,” says Garshick. However, as she explains, mineral sunscreens are thought to be better options for anyone with sensitive skin as some chemical ingredients can be irritating.

Can we use sunscreen during period? ›

Increased Sun Sensitivity

Plastic surgeon Dana Khuthaila, M.D., says the hormones that make your pores become clogged can also increase redness and sun sensitivity. You should never skip SPF, but make sure to be extra vigilant about sun protection right before and during your period.

Does zinc raise estrogen? ›

Zinc also helps the pituitary gland to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH encourages ovulation and tells your ovaries to produce more progesterone. The ovaries love zinc—sufficient amount of this mineral helps them produce estrogen and progesterone.

What does zinc do to the female body? ›

Overview. Zinc, a nutrient found throughout your body, helps your immune system and metabolism function. Zinc is also important to wound healing and your sense of taste and smell. With a varied diet, your body usually gets enough zinc.

How does magnesium affect female hormones? ›

By supporting the COMT enzyme (catechol-o-methyltransferase) in the liver, magnesium promotes the healthy excretion of estrogen (9). This may reduce the risk of the estrogen excess conditions (such as fibroids) associated with low COMT function (10).

What are the worst sunscreens? ›

Most Toxic Sunscreens to Avoid
  • COOLA Classic Body Sunscreen Spray, Peach Blossom, SPF 70.
  • Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100.
  • Banana Boat Ultra Defense Clear Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100.
  • Banana Boat Kids MAX Clear Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100.
  • Australian Gold Botanical Natural Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70.
11 Jan 2022

What ingredients should not be in sunscreen? ›

What Ingredients To Avoid in SPF Sunscreens
  • Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone has been a topic of discussion for years, and it is one of the most popular sunscreen ingredients on the market. ...
  • Benzene. Benzene is a chemical commonly used for manufacturing plastics, pesticides, and even cigarettes. ...
  • Octinoxate. ...
  • Silicones. ...
  • Fragrance.

How does oxybenzone affect estrogen? ›

Oxybenzone is a potential endocrine disruptor, meaning it can affect growth, development and reproduction, Leiba said. According to her group, studies have shown it is a weak estrogen and can lower testosterone in adolescent boys. As a result, Leiba said sunscreens with oxybenzone should be avoided.

Videos

1. The Natural State 115: The Hormone Disrupting Chemicals Wreaking Havoc on Health - Dr. Anthony Jay
(Dr. Anthony Gustin)
2. TruProduct with Gary Jones
(Karen Watson)
3. Hormonal Havoc | Fullscript Webinar
(Fullscript)
4. Endocrine Disruptors
(Eric Samson @ KIS)
5. How does your brain respond to pain? - Karen D. Davis
(TED-Ed)
6. Human Health Threats from Chemicals in Plastics
(IPEN Toxics Free Future)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Merrill Bechtelar CPA

Last Updated: 09/25/2022

Views: 5854

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Merrill Bechtelar CPA

Birthday: 1996-05-19

Address: Apt. 114 873 White Lodge, Libbyfurt, CA 93006

Phone: +5983010455207

Job: Legacy Representative

Hobby: Blacksmithing, Urban exploration, Sudoku, Slacklining, Creative writing, Community, Letterboxing

Introduction: My name is Merrill Bechtelar CPA, I am a clean, agreeable, glorious, magnificent, witty, enchanting, comfortable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.