Sunscreen is supposed to protect your family’s and your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays and even prevent cancer. But what if your sunscreen is actually doing the opposite? The chemicals inside of sunscreen penetrate your skin and could be doing more harm than good.

Maybe you’ve even seen labels advertising “safe sunscreen,” “natural sunscreen,” or “for kids.” These words make you feel like you are choosing the safe option for your family, but harmful ingredients are often used in mainstream brand sunscreens that you see on the shelf. We’ve done the research, so you don’t have to spend countless hours glued to your computer screen.

Here’s what you should look for in a sunscreen and what to keep in mind when spending time in the sun: 

  • A physical barrier rather than a chemical one is always the safest option
  • A higher SPF does not necessarily mean better protection
  • All ingredients in a sunscreen matter, not just the “active” ones
  • Ignore fancy marketing meant to make you think you’re choosing the natural option

 

Chemical Barriers vs. Physical Barriers

There are two main types of actual sun protection – chemical barriers and physical barriers. Chemical barriers are ingredients like octinoxate, oxybenzone, octycrylate, retinyl palmitate, and homosalate (among others) – found in most of the sunscreens that you’ll buy in stores and online.

There are just 17 FDA-approved ingredients for sun protection. And, 15 of the 17 are chemical ingredients that absorb UV light. They easily penetrate skin, but this effect may not be a good thing.

Nine of those 15 are known “encodrine disruptors,” harmful chemicals that alter the natural function of our hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, thyroid and more. Endocrine disruptors have been shown to cause abnormal development in fetuses and growing children, early puberty and premature breast development in girls, low sperm counts in men, and infertility. 

As if that’s not harmful enough, some of these endocrine disruptors may generate DNA-damaging chemicals called “free radicals” in the body, and they can lead to cancer. Some studies have found that chemical sunscreen can promote indirect DNA damage, which causes the most lethal form of skin cancer: malignant melanoma.

Just TWO of the 17 FDA-approved ingredients for sun protection are what we call physical blockers, namely zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These two ingredients provide broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection without the harmful potential disease implications that the chemical ingredients mentioned above carry.

 They’re also “reef” safe, meaning they don’t contribute to coral bleaching. According to the National Park Service of Hawaii, 14,000 tons of toxic sunscreen enter coral reefs every year.

This effect contributes to stress and mortality of the coral. For this reason, Hawaii is the first state in the US to ban the sale of sunscreen containing octinoxate or oxybenzone. The legislation was approved in May 2018 and the new laws go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

So, choosing a mineral sunscreen helps the environment and also helps you. These chemicals aren’t safe. Always read the back of the bottle rather than relying on buzzwords like “natural” and “organic” to guide your buying decisions.

 

SPF Number is Not “The Holy Grail” 

You actually want “Broad Spectrum Coverage.” Most people have no idea about this, but the “SPF” number on a sunscreen only rates protection from UVB rays, the ones that cause sunburn – think “B” for burn.

 UVA rays, those that cause long-term damage, leathering, wrinkling and aging of the skin – think “A” for aging, aren’t included in the SPF number. It’s possible to be out in the sun and not burn, yet expose yourself to long-term cellular damage and skin cancer.  

UVB-protecting sunscreen does not protect you from all the harmful effects of the sun. It’s important to protect against both UVA and UVB rays because both types cause melanoma.

Choose a “broad spectrum, of SPF 30+. As for the number, anything above SPF 30 is really just marketing. SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays and SPF 50 blocks 98%, so the increase in protection with those higher numbers is virtually nothing.

 

The Problem with Certain Zinc Oxides and Titanium Dioxides

Did you know that all zinc oxides and titanium dioxides are not the same? In recent years, traditional sunscreen manufacturers have pulverized zinc and/or titanium into microscopic particles called nanoparticles.

They do this so they can say “mineral sunscreen”, which sounds very “natural”, but …  even though they rub in more easily, they also penetrate through deeper layers of the skin and accumulate.

These nanoparticles create a more “clear” sunscreen rather than leaving you pasty white, but both zinc and titanium are metals. When they’re microscopically sized, they accumulate in the body.

You don’t want these metals populating inside your body. For zinc or titanium to remain just under the surface of the skin and to provide safe sun protection, the particles need to be non-nanoparticle sized. Size matters!

Look for this distinction on your mineral sunscreen – and if it doesn’t specifically say non-nanoparticle zinc or titanium, you likely have nanoparticles present. Say no to nanoparticles.

 

ALL Ingredients Matter, not just the “Active Ingredients” 

Be sure to read the full ingredient panel of the sunscreen that you’re about to purchase, because many manufacturers like to highlight just the “active” ingredients.

It’s not enough to just have non-nanoparticle zinc and/or titanium as the active ingredients, the inactive ingredients must be clean as well. Whether they’re considered active or inactive, those ingredients are being rubbed into your skin. 

Your skin will absorb all of the ingredients even if they are considered “inactive”. In the case of spray sunscreens, the ingredients will also be inhaled into your lungs. 

A great way to determine if your sunscreen is safe for you and your family is by seeing if you would eat the ingredients. If you wouldn’t eat what’s inside the sunscreen, why rub them on your skin? Your skin absorbs the ingredients just like when you eat food.

You know that all ingredients matter when it come to your food. So why treat your sunscreen any differently?

 

It’s all about the Ingredients, the Rest is just Marketing! 

Isn’t that what it always comes down to? We get it – there’s a lot of marketing out there – powerful, beautiful branding, and magical “buzzwords” proclaiming “natural”, “safe for babies”, “organic.” These are all of catch-phrases that get us to buy.

But, it always comes down to the ingredients inside the tube. Reading the backside of your sunscreen (both the active and inactive ingredients) is the only single way for anyone to know if a product is truly safe.

It doesn’t have to be difficult, stressful, or super expensive either, to choose the very best for yourself and your family.

Pure Haven offers products that will change your life, bring you peace, save your sanity, help you look and feel your very best, and won’t break your wallet. 

 

Pure Haven Sunscreen is your Solution!

Our sunscreen rubs in better than any other truly non-toxic formula that we’ve ever tried (and that’s a lot) – and it protects for hours! Safe for the whole family, with no scent. 

All of Pure Haven’s products are 100% free of toxins, and they work! We did the homework on what ingredients to avoid so you don’t have to – and we know our stuff. Our products are “better than organic”, free of toxins, sustainable, and cruelty free. Most of our products are even vegan, too.

To learn more about the ingredients to avoid in your personal and home care products, check out this list of harmful ingredients and why you should steer clear of them, but this is just the tip of the iceberg of what you’ll want to look for.

Contact one of our consultants, to find out more about Pure Haven’s products and/or to make a purchase. We can help you take your health into your hands, without any compromises!