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Ingredients to Avoid in Sunscreen

Ingredients to avoid in sunscreen

When the sun is shining we all feel good, we smile more easily, have more energy and generally feel happier.

There is no better tonic than spending time outdoors in the sunshine! The sun is good for us for a number of reasons. Our body needs sun exposure to produce vitamin D, promote healthy bones and muscles and regulate our body clock.

While there are benefits to a good dose of sunshine it’s important to protect your skin from the effects of sun exposure such as acceleration in ageing.

However, there are a number of ingredients in sunscreens that you might want to avoid and here are five of the bad boys in no particular order:

Oxybenzone is a penetration enhancer (a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin). When exposed to UV rays it undergoes a chemical reaction. When this ingredient is absorbed by your skin, it may cause an allergic reaction. Experts also suspect that oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor (i.e., mimics, blocks, and alters hormone levels) which can disturb your endocrine system.

Octinoxate is one of the most common ingredients found in sunscreens with Sun Protection Factor (SPF). Octinoxate is another hormone disruptor which is not only harmful to humans but also to wildlife if the chemical gets into the water.

Homosalate is a UV-absorbing ingredient helps sunscreen to penetrate your skin. Once homosalate has been absorbed, it accumulates in our bodies faster than we can get rid of it and disrupts our hormones.

4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) is used to protect the skin against UV B radiation. It is used in sunscreen lotions and other skincare products such as daily moisturisers claiming a SPF value. It acts as an endocrine disruptor and there is some evidence that 4-MBC may adversely affect thyroid function.   

Parabens are used as a preservative in skincare products and are an endocrine disruptor resulting in increased levels of oestrogen. Parabens have been surrounded by controversy in the media. Although there is no conclusive evidence to link parabens with breast cancer, parabens can lead to increased levels of oestrogen, the hormone which fuels the majority of breast cancers.