Tag Archives: chemical sunscreen

Sunlight is essential for preventing disease.

Sunscreen chemicals, breast cancer, diseases. Careful!

Sunscreen chemicals. By Marc Sorenson, EdD.

Soak up the sun and avoid sunscreen chemicals.Sunscreen chemicals are toxic. I have written about them previously and did an analysis of sunscreen chemicals dangers in my book, Embrace the Sun. And now, Science Digest alerts the public of new research.  It indicates that even low concentrations of sunscreen chemicals can stimulate breast tissue growth. Thus, these chemicals could lead to breast cancer. Nevertheless, these chemicals affected only breast cells that had estrogen receptors. The sunscreen chemical tested was oxybenzone, which mimics estrogen in some aspects. Oxybenzone and other similar chemicals are known as xenoestrogens.  They are also suspected of many injurious effects beyond possibly causing breast cancer.

Other deleterious effects of sunscreen chemicals 1

First of all, several years ago, the CDC released a study showing that 96.8% of Americans at age six are contaminated with oxybenzone. The study also showed that women were 3.5 times as likely to have high concentrations as men.[1] The authors suggest that women’s greater use of personal-care products, most of which contain sunscreens, is the reason for their higher degree of contamination. Oxybenzone is used in 588 sunscreens and in 567 other personal-care products.[2] Another investigation showed that up to 8.7% of oxybnezone is absorbed[3] and accumulates in the body.[4] It is still found in the urine 5 days after application.

Other deleterious effects of sunscreen chemicals 2

Other research papers confirm that sunscreen chemicals are highly absorbed and then detected in urine and breast milk, where they may cause systemic effects, including disruption of the endocrine system.[5], [6]

In addition, pregnant mothers exposed to oxybenzone gave birth to babies with low birth weights, [7] whichprograms” the developing child for greater risks of heart disease, hypertension, type-two diabetes and other diseases in adulthood.[8] Furthermore, sun causes the chemical to become a potent allergen[9], [10] and to form free radicals.[11], [12], [13], [14] Free radicals are unstable atoms which lack an electron in their outer shells. One study concluded, “The surprising result is UV filters applied to the skin surface not only lose their screening capability after a period of incubation, but also may lead to enhanced ROS [free radicals] generation in nucleated epidermis through photogeneration.“[15] In fact, after one hour, more free radicals were created by sunlight contacting sunscreen, than sunlight on skin. To me, this is another indication that sunscreens cause more damage than no sunscreens!

Other deleterious effects of sunscreen chemicals 3

In addition to adverse effects on human health, sunscreen chemicals have potential deleterious effects on the environment. A study from the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, regarding the detrimental effects of Oxybenzone, stated that Oxybenzone is a photo-toxicant, meaning its adverse effects are exacerbated in the light.[16] Does this toxic chemical sound like something you’d like to apply to your skin or your children’s skin while out in the sun?

The researchers also stated: “Oxybenzone is an emerging contaminant of concern in the marine environment.” They found that a small dollop of sunscreen in six Olympic-sized pools caused a disruption of coral growth. Such disruption leads to a whitening and killing of the marine activity of coral reefs. This is accomplished by ossification of a free-swimming larva called a planula, which kills the growth of coral reefs. And this information has proven to be prophetic. Many beach areas have now prohibited the use of sunscreen chemicals due to concerns about coral-reef destruction.

The final nail in the coffin for sunscreen chemicals: they may lead to sunburns.

I have often stated that sunscreens may be worthless at best and dangerous at worst. Another scientific study accidentally corroborated my conclusion.[17] The researchers wanted to discover which sun-protection behavior was most effective in preventing sunburn. Hence, they designed a cross-sectional investigation using a nationally representative sample of about 32,000 US adults. They interviewed each participant in person. This is especially relevant when attempting to achieve the most accurate results possible. We can conclude, therefore, that their findings regarding sunscreen use and other “sun-protective” behaviors probably have validity. Seeking shade, wearing a hat or visor, and wearing long sleeves and or pants were other sun-protective behaviors included.

The results:

Fifty-four percent of the subjects were women, and 15,992 of all individuals were considered sun-sensitive (fair skinned).  Those who used only sunscreen had the highest sunburn likelihood (62.4%). Also, the group with lowest likelihood of sunburn did not use sunscreen, but engaged in the other protective behaviors (24.3% sunburned).  In addition, among 12,566 non–sun-sensitive individuals, those engaged in all 4 protective behaviors had the lowest sunburn (6.6%). The highest likelihood of sunburn was among those who used only sunscreen (26.2%). “The most surprising and counterintuitive finding was that regular sunscreen use, in the absence of other protective behaviors, was associated with the highest likelihood of sunburn.” according to Kasey Morris, who led the study.

Finally, a meta-analysis of the best research, involving 313,000 subjects found that neither melanoma nor non-melanoma skin cancer was associated with sunscreen use. And, another study indicated that in the last three decades, melanoma incidence has increased by 400% and sunscreen use has also increased by 400%. Isn’t it time that we stopped using this toxic, chemical soup?

 

 

 

Sunlight is essential for preventing disease.

 

 

 

Think carefully about this information when you next see a sunscreen ad. Enjoy the sun safely (without burning).

Happy sunning

[1] Calafat, A. Concentrations of the Sunscreen Agent, Benzophenone-3, in Residents of the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2004. (Available at http://dx.doi.org/).

[2] Environmental Working Group: Americans Carry Body Burden of Toxic Sunscreen Chemical.  25, 2008. (Available at http://www.ewg.org/node/26212).

[3] Hayden CG, Roberts MS, Benson HA. Systemic absorption of sunscreen after topical application. Lancet 1997:350:863-64.

[4] Gonzalez H, Farbrot A, Larkö A-M. Wennberg A. Percutaneous absorption of the sunscreen benzophenone-3 after repeated whole-body applications, with and without ultraviolet irradiation. British J Dermatol 2016;154:137-140.

[5] Krause M, Klit A, Blomberg Jensen M, Søeborg T, Frederiksen H, Schlumpf M, Lichtensteiger W, Skakkebaek NE, Drzewiecki KT. Sunscreens: Are they beneficial for health? An overview of endocrine disrupting properties of UV-filters. Int. J. Androl. 35, 424436 (2012).

[6] Yang Deng, Asiri Ediriwickrema, Fan Yang, Julia Lewis, Michael Girardi and W. Mark Saltzman. A sunblock based on bioadhesive nanoparticles. Nature materials: published online: 28 September 2015.

[7] Mary S. Wolff, Stephanie M. Engel, Gertrud S. Berkowitz, Xiaoyun Ye, Manori J. Silva, Chenbo Zhu, James Wetmur, and Antonia M. Calafat. Prenatal Phenol and Phthalate Exposures and Birth Outcomes. National Institutes of Health USA Department of Health and Human Services.(available at http://dx.doi.org/)

[8] Lau C, Rogers JM. 2004. Embryonic and fetal programming of physiological disorders in adulthood. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today 2004;72:300-12.

[9] Bryden AM, Moseley H, Ibbotson SH, Chowdhury MM, Beck MH, Bourke J, English J, Farr P, Foulds IS, et al. Photopatch testing of 1155 patients: results of the U.K. multicentre photopatch group. B J Dermatol 2006;155:737-47.

[10] Rodriguez E, Valbuena MC, Rey M, Porras de Quintana L. 2006. Causal agents of photoallergic contact dermatitis diagnosed in the national institute of dermatology of Colombia. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 2006;22:189-92.

[11] Hanson KM, Gratton E, Bardeen CJ. Sunscreen enhancement of UV-induced reactive oxygen species in the skin. Free Radic Biol Med. 2006 Oct 15;41(8):1205-12.

[12] Bastien N, Millau JF, Rouabhia M, Davies RJ, Drouin R. The sunscreen agent 2-phenylbenzimidazole-5-sulfonic acid photosensitizes the formation of oxidized guanines in cellulo after UV-A or UV-B exposure. J Invest Dermatol. 2010 Oct;130(10):2463-7

[13] Gulston M, Knowland J. Illumination of human keratinocytes in the presence of the sunscreen ingredient Padimate-O and through an SPF-15 sunscreen reduces direct photodamage to DNA but increases strand breaks. Mutat Res. 1999 Jul 21;444(1):49-60.

[14] Environmental Working Group: Americans Carry Body Burden of Toxic Sunscreen Chemical.  25, 2008. (Available at http://www.ewg.org/node/26212).

[15] Hanson KM, Gratton E, Bardeen CJ. Sunscreen enhancement of UV-induced reactive oxygen species in the skin. Free Radic Biol Med. 2006 Oct 15;41(8):1205-12.

[16] C. A. Downs , Esti Kramarsky-Winter, Roee Segal, John Fauth, Sean Knutson, Omri Bronstein, Frederic R. Ciner, Rina Jeger, Yona Lichtenfeld et al. Toxicopathological Effects of the Sunscreen UV Filter, Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3), on Coral Planulae and Cultured Primary Cells and Its Environmental Contamination in Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology Oct 20 2015.

[17] Kasey L. Morris, PhD; Frank M. Perna, EdD, PhD. Decision Tree Model vs Traditional Measures to Identify Patterns of Sun-Protective Behaviors and Sun Sensitivity Associated With Sunburn. JAMA Dermatol. Published online June 27, 2018.

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flu: stop it with sunlight.

Chemical sunscreen for skin protection? No!

Chemical sunscreen is toxic and hazardous. By Marc Sorenson, EdD

Chemical sunscreen has been mentioned in new medical and scientific papers lately, and the research is alarming. Yet, many governments and medical associations have not gotten the message. Consequently, I lately blogged about the idea being promoted in Australia and New Zealand, that sunscreen use is absolutely indispensable. Due to this promotion, a major Australian newspaper stated, “Make it like brushing your teeth.” That seems like a terrific slogan to line the pockets of chemical sunscreen manufacturers, no? But, it is most noteworthy that sunscreen use may lead to disability and even death.

A dermatology journal study takes chemical sunscreens to task.

But maybe the dermatology profession is starting to catch on. And Surprisingly, one of the best treatises on chemical sunscreen was written by dermatologists. It is rather interesting that they were strongly questioning the wisdom of chemical sunscreens. Furthermore, the study was published by the Clinical Dermatology Research Journal and was entitled, Should We Use Products Containing Chemical UV Absorbing Sunscreen Actives on Children?[1] This is amazing, because most dermatologists are loath to say anything about sunscreen that is not positive.

The salient points on chemical sunscreens from this research paper:

  • A 2018 report from the American Cancer Society demonstrated the following: after 40 years of sunscreen use (1975-2014) melanoma increased 4 fold in men and 3 fold in women. (So how does that information lead to the usual mantra that we should always be covered in sunscreen?)
  • Also, all six sunscreen chemicals (chemical UV absorbers) considered in this paper are known to be endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). And oxybenzone, one of the worst offenders, has been shown to cause a significant decrease in sperm density. (Since sperm counts have dropped rapidly in the past few decades among men, could it be due to chemical sunscreen use?)

More facts about chemical sunscreens:

  • Also, environmental exposure to chemical sunscreen in adolescent boys (ages 12-19) was associated with significantly lower total serum testosterone. Therefore, these chemicals would, as mentioned, produce lower sperm density.
  • In addition, chemical sunscreen passes through human skin. (About 8% of Oxybenzone finds its way through the skin. It seems like using these noxious products is something most of us would want to avoid!)

Other research on chemical sunscreens that may interest you:

Another important study demonstrates that chemical sunscreen does not help prevent melanoma, and, it could be a cause. [2] Rather surprising, no? Most of all, the researchers’ goal was to determine the efficacy of sunscreens in preventing melanoma. Hence, they compared melanoma rates with sales in 24 countries in Europe, during the period of 1997-1999 to 2008 and 2012. They thus found that higher income people had significantly higher melanoma incidence. And, increased use of chemical sunscreens had not prevented higher income populations from being at higher risk of melanoma. Consequently, we see this equation: Higher sunscreen use=higher melanoma risk and therefore higher melanoma death risk!

But does chemical sunscreen prevent skin cancer?

So, the following research probably deflated the egos of chemical sunscreen manufacturers. A meta-analysis of 20 studies showed what many probably not expect. Because, both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers were not prevented by chemical sunscreens.[3] It is especially relevant that they were associated with a slight increase in risk, though this increase was not considered significant. We could probably say, from the information presented, that sunscreens are worthless at best, and dangerous at worst. So, who benefits?  The manufacturers and distributors. And who suffers? The people, because they use the noxious products.

Does chemical sunscreen even prevent sunburns?

And now, another recent scientific study corroborates this conclusion (worthless at best, dangerous at worst) regarding chemical sunscreen.[4]  The authors expected a different outcome—an outcome exactly opposite of what they found. The goal was to discover which sun-protection behavior was most effective in preventing sunburn. Hence, they designed a cross-sectional investigation using a nationally representative sample of about 32,000 US adults.

Excellent research method on chemical sunscreens

The researchers interviewed each participant, and they did it in person. This is especially relevant when attempting to achieve the most accurate results possible. We can conclude, therefore, that their findings regarding sunscreen use and other “sun-protective” behaviors have validity. The measured behaviors (beyond sunscreen use) were seeking shade, wearing a hat or visor, and wearing long sleeves and/or pants.

Results of the sunburn and chemical sunscreen study.

In addition, the researchers identified the subjects as sun-sensitive individuals or non-sun-sensitive individuals. Fifty-four percent of the subjects were women, and 15,992 of all individuals were considered sun-sensitive (fair skinned).  Those who used only sunscreen had the highest sunburn likelihood (62.4%). The group with lowest likelihood of sunburn did not use chemical sunscreen but engaged in the other protective behaviors (24.3% sunburned). 

A surprising conclusion that using chemical sunscreens was the worst choice!

In addition, among 12,566 non–sun-sensitive individuals, those engaged in all 4 protective behaviors had the lowest sunburn risk (6.6%). The highest likelihood of sunburn was among those who only used sunscreen (26.2%). Dr. Kasey Morris, the study leader, was stunned. She made the following statement: “The most surprising and counterintuitive finding was that regular sunscreen use, in the absence of other protective behaviors, was associated with the highest likelihood of sunburn.”[5]

The bottom line regarding chemical sunscreen and sunburns

So, you should now understand this fact: chemical sunscreen use associates closely with sunburning. [3] That fact has actually been known since 2014.[6] Therefore, sunscreen is not a good product. Of course, we should protect ourselves from overexposure to sunlight. But, we should do it the way God (or Mother Nature, if you prefer) intended it:  1. Cover up with clothing when you start to redden, 2. Seek shade. 3. Go indoors for awhile. And remember that good health depends on obtaining regular, non-burning sun exposure. Happy sunning!

Read more on sunscreens and toxicity in my new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Embrace-Sun-Marc-B-Sorenson/dp/069207600X


[1] DiNardo JC and Downs CA, Should We Use Products Containing Chemical UV-Absorbing Sunscreen Actives on Children? Clin Dermatol Res J 2019, 4:1.

[2] Williams SN, Dienes KA. Sunscreen Sales, Socio-Economic Factors, and Melanoma Incidence in Northern Europe: A Population-Based Ecological Study. SAGE Open October-December 2014: 1–6.

[3] Elizabet saes da SILVA, Roberto TAVARES, Felipe da silva PAULITSCH, Linjie ZHANG. Eur J Dermatol 2018; 28(2): 186-201.

[4] Kasey L. Morris, PhD; Frank M. Perna, EdD, PhD. Decision Tree Model vs Traditional Measures to Identify Patterns of Sun-Protective Behaviors and Sun Sensitivity Associated With Sunburn. JAMA Dermatol. Published online June 27, 2018.

[5] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-sunburns/sun-sensitive-people-need-more-than-sunscreen-to-avoid-sunburn-idUSKBN1K02RB

[6] https://www.webmd.com/beauty/news/20110714/sunscreen-users-more-likely-burn#1

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