Over the past 35 years, the rate of melanoma cases in American adults has tripled. Yet, sunscreen sales grow 4.2% a year and is now a $1 billion industry. Skin cancer rates and sunscreen use are both at an all time high. It turns out that sunscreen does not provide the protection we need. And even worse, sunscreen is adding to the damage with toxic chemicals.
The Chemicals in Toxic Commercial Sunscreen
Here’s the ingredient list from 2 popular sunscreens.
Sunscreen #1 (this one)
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%) (Sunscreen), Homosalate (13%) (Sunscreen), Octisalate (5%) (Sunscreen), Octocrylene (7%) (Sunscreen), Oxybenzone (4%) (Sunscreen)
Inactive Ingredients: Water, Sorbitol, Aluminum Starch, OctenylSuccinate, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, Sorbitan Isostearate, Benzyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E) (Vitamin E), Polyglyceryl 3 Diisostearate, Fragrance, Methylparaben, Carbomer, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA
Sunscreen #2 (this one marketed as a mild & soothing baby brand)
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone
Inactive Ingredients: Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Behenyl Alcohol, BHT, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Caprylyl Methicone, Diethylhexyl 2 6 Naphthalate, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Ethylhexl Glycerin, Ethylparaben, Glyceryl Stearate, Methylparaben, PEG 100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Silica, Sodium Polyacrylate, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Trideceth 6, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Water, Xanthan Gum
Let’s take a closer look at a few of these ingredients. The following are all absorbed into your skin and bloodstream. When used on nursing mothers, these chemicals were found in their breast milk. And since these chemicals do not biodegrade, they contaminate our water (pools, lakes, and oceans) and environment.
Most commercial sunscreens contain avobenzone. Avobenzone does protect from UVA rays, however is linked to causing cancer an it breaks down in sunlight. So the other chemicals are added to stabilize the avobenzone.
- Oxybenzone – The most commonly used ingredient in toxic sunscreens. It acts like estrogen, alters sperm count, causes hormonal disruptions, and linked to endometriosis.
- Homosalate – Disrupts estrogen & progesterone production
- Octocrylene – High rate of skin allergies
- Avobenzone – Linked to cancer
- Octisalate – Environmental toxin
If you use a spray sunscreen, add lung and respiratory damage to the list due to inhaling the mist from the spray.
Natural Sunscreen Alternatives
Vitamin D and Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Sunscreen is designed to block UV rays. But while it’s at it, it also blocks vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D can lead to:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Heart disease
- Common colds & flu
- Skin cancer
Wait….what?!? Low levels of vitamin D can lead to skin cancer. And sunscreen blocks vitamin D, thus increasing our chances of skin cancer?? That seems a bit counterproductive, doesn’t it?
The best way to get more vitamin D is by taking fermented cod liver oil (FCLO) everyday. Read more about FCLO here and find it here. In addition to having lots of vitamin D, FCLO is an anti-inflammatory. A sunburn is inflammation of the skin caused by UV rays. Therefore, FCLO helps prevent sun damage before it starts. Keep in mind that not all cod liver oils are made the same. You want fermented, vitamin rich cod liver oil. FCLO is one of the best natural sunscreens you can find.
DIY Natural Sunscreen
Making a nontoxic, DIY, natural sunscreen is easy. Here is a list of natural sunscreen ingredients that provide sun protection when applied topically:
- Here is a list of carrier oils that provide sun protection:
- Other natural ingredients that provide sun protection:
- Heat oils and beeswax in a double boiler until melted. Remove from heat.
- Stir in essential oils and zinc oxide. The more zinc oxide you use, the higher the spf. 2 tablespoons will be about SPF 20.
- Continue to stir as it cools.
- Store in a glass jar. Will keep for about 6 months. You can add more beeswax for a thicker lotion. You can substitute different carrier oils as desired from the list of carrier oils with SPF.
Natural Sunscreen Brands I Trust
If you don’t want to make your sunscreen, don’t worry, there are some great options available to purchase. Here are some natural sunscreen brands that are nontoxic and work great:
Click here for a complete list of EWG approved sunscreens.
Find other nontoxic, DIY, natural sunscreen recipes here: