Is Your Sunscreen Toxic?

by Jen on June 29, 2017

Learn more about the dangers of conventional sunscreen and why you need to STOP using it NOW!

Is Your Sunscreen Toxic? Many of the conventional sunscreens are actually toxic to your skin. Find out which sunscreen to use and which to avoid.

For years we have all be told to use sunscreen on our skin.

  • It keeps us from getting a sun burn
  • It helps ward off skin cancer
  • It protects our skin from sun damage

But could the sunscreen we’ve been told to use all these years actually be toxic to us?

Turns out, YES, it is indeed toxic!

You’re probably just as surprised as I was to hear this statement. How could something that we’ve been told protects us actually be harming us?

Why is Conventional Sunscreen Toxic?

Sunscreen is a billion dollar industry! You see store shelves lined with it this time of year. Even our local weatherman tells us to slather it on on hot days.

Our use of sunscreen has been increasing over the years, yet the incidence of malignant melanoma (skin cancer,) is actually increasing.

Conventional sunscreens that you find on your local store shelf protect the skin using chemicals such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.

If you’ve been reading my blog the past few months, you’ll know that my stance on skin/beauty products is: if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t be wearing it on your skin. When we put chemicals on our skin, they are absorbed into our bodies and affect our skin and other tissues.

New research that has come out in the past five years has shown that these chemicals in conventional sunscreen are actually endocrine disruptors and may interfere with thyroid and other hormone processes.

Recently, reports from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have warned consumers against using many types of conventional sunscreens, especially on children. In short, sunscreen can:

  • absorb into our bloodstream
  • cause free radicals in sunlight
  • act like estrogen and disrupt hormones
  • cause allergic reactions and skin irritation

Add to this that sunscreens aren’t even regulated!

A recent study published in Environmental Science Technology has also shown the common sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, and PABA are estrogenic chemicals linked to cancer.

If your current sunscreen has any of these chemicals, I would strongly suggest you throw it away:

  • Para amino benzoic acid
  • Octyl salicyclate
  • Oxybenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Phenylbenzimidazole
  • Homosalate
  • Menthyl anthranilate
  • Octocrylene
  • Methoxycinnamate
  • Parabens

Spray sunscreens have increased in popularity over the past few years, but Consumer Reports warn about the added dangers of these sunscreens. Spray sunscreens should not be used on children, and adults needs to use caution to make sure they don’t inhale the sunscreen or use it on their face.

Vitamin D and the Sun

I’m sure many of you are wondering what to do! Here I am telling you to NOT use sunscreen, yet we’ve been warned about skin cancer and sun damage due to UVA and UVB rays.

I think we can agree that there are toxic chemicals found in most sunscreens. But did you know that these sunscreens also block the body’s ability to manufacture vitamin D that we receive from the sun? Most of us are already vitamin D deficient, and vitamin D deficiency is linked to cancer and heart disease.

Of course, you can have too much of a good thing. I’m not advocating that you go in the sun unprotected for long periods of time. But getting a moderate amount of sun each day (about 20 minutes of direct sunlight each day) can actually help decrease your risk of certain cancers and diseases.

What is a Safer Option?

Mineral sunscreens!

Mineral sunscreens contain zinc or titanium. These minerals do not break down in sunlight, are not usually absorbed and therefore do not affect the body’s hormones, are not allergenic, and are more effective at blocking UVA rays than conventional sunscreens.

I personally use Think Baby and Rocky Mountain Soap Company.


It’s important to check the ingredients in mineral sunscreens because some of them can contain a few of the toxic chemicals I listed above. *ALWAYS make sure to read the ingredients!* For example, Jason Mineral Sunscreen claims to be a natural alternative, but there are a couple of ingredients such as phenoxyethanol and glyceryl isostearate that are questionable to me.

I like to use the app, Think Dirty, to get a list of ingredients and determine the toxicity level of my skin products.

Some other good mineral sunscreens:

The Honest Company

Beauty By Earth

Badger Mineral Sunscreen

True Natural Sunscreen 

Of course, the safest option is to cover up! There are no chemicals for the skin to absorb and you know it works! Wear a hat and long sleeves.

Internal Sun Protection

Did you know there are also certain foods and supplements that can also protect your skin?

VITAMIN D3 – Higher levels of vitamin D3 can have protective effects against sunburn and skin cancer. I personally take about 3,000 – 5,000 IU per day.

VITAMIN C – Vitamin C is great for the immune system and also acts as an anti-inflammatory. I take 1,200 mg per day.

ASTAXANTHIN – This is a potent antioxidant that protects your skin from the inside out. It’s also great for anti-aging. I take one capsule per day.

COCONUT OIL – The medium chain fatty acids found in saturated fats such as coconut oil help protect the skin against burning and with new skin formation. I consume anywhere from 1 – 5 Tbsp per day!

COD LIVER OIL – Fish oil is one of the most important supplements for skin protection. It’s also great for digestive and oral health.

We also want to make sure we are avoiding foods that increase inflammation in the body:

Action Steps

  1. Get 20 minutes of direct sun exposure daily (if you can.)
  2. Cover up with light clothing.
  3. Wear natural mineral sunscreen if you’re going to be out in the sun for long periods of time.
  4. Consume foods and supplements that are high in antioxidants to help protect your skin.
  5. Avoid high-inflammatory foods that damage your skin.
  6. If you get a sunburn, treat it with a mixture of aloe, coconut oil, and vitamin E.


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