Should we swap one potential carcinogen for another? Overexposure to the sun can damage DNA and lead to skin cancer. Therefore, protecting our skin, especially during the hottest part of the day, is important. However, some common active ingredients and additives in sunscreens can be linked to two different cancers: breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Avoid certain active chemical ingredients
Active ingredients, such as oxybenzone, octinoxate (octyl-methoxycinnamate or OMC), and homosalate, and preservatives such as parabens can disrupt normal hormone functioning. According to a 2010 Tufts University School of Medicine Review, “Exposure to [endocrine disrupting chemicals] generates…alterations in male and female reproduction and…prostate cancer… In their first Scientific Statement the Endocrine Society, a 95 year old organization whose essential and integrative role is to promote scientific discovery, medical practice, and human health proclaims, ”…endocrine disruptors have effects on male and female reproduction, breast development and cancer, prostate cancer…”
Look for minerals
Instead of chemical sunscreens which absorb UV rays, look to minerals (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) which physically block both UVA and UVB rays and serve as a broad spectrum sunscreen. Remember:
Prevent sun exposure
- Sun’s rays are strongest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Wear a hat & protective, light-colored clothing.
Protect against both UVA and UVB rays
- UVA rays can cause wrinkles & skin cancer
- “SPF” only refers to blockage of UVB rays
- “Broad spectrum SPF” refers to protection from both UVB and UVA rays
Avoid potentially harmful ingredients
- Active ingredients: oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate
- Preservative: parabens and BHA
Look for minerals as active ingredients
- Zinc oxide
- Titanium oxide
Use sunscreen properly
- Lay it on thick
- Reapply after 2 hours
LocalMotionGreen’s 2012 list of mineral sunscreen brands
*Indicates brands with both chemical and mineral based suncreens. Look for the specific line(s) listed to avoid chemical active ingredients. List is not exhaustive or all-inclusive.
Alba Botanica* Mineral Protection
Aveeno Natural Protection* Mineral Block
Banana Boat* Natural Reflect
Burn Out Pure Suncare
Coola* Plant UV or Mineral
Eco Logical Skin Care
Kiss My Face* Kids
Purple Prairie Cosmetics
Seventh Generation Baby Sunscreen