By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute..
A new article in Tech Times[i] reminded me of the sometimes terrible consequences of chemical sunscreen use. We know that melanoma incidence has paralleled the increase in sun exposure (see my previous blog), meaning that at best sunscreens are a waste of time and money, and at worst they are dangerous.
The dangers of chemical sunscreens are numerous in terms of health: feminization of humans, animals and fish are just a few. However, there is also a terrific environmental impact that has to do with the harm to the environment. A study from the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology regarding the detrimental effects of Oxybenzone, one of the worst (and most used) of the sunscreen ingredients, stated that Oxybenzone is a photo-toxicant, meaning that its adverse effects are exacerbated in the light.[ii] Does this chemical sound like something you’d like to apply to your skin while out in the sunlight?
The researchers also stated: “Oxybenzone is an emerging contaminant of concern in the marine environment.” The researchers 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 the coral reefs. This is accomplished by ossification of a free-swimming larva called a planula, which kills it and stops the growth of coral reefs.
Here are a few of the other facts about oxybenzone and other chemical sunscreens:
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2008 released a study showing that 96.8% of Americans at age six are contaminated with oxybenzone and that women were 3.5 times as likely to have high concentrations as men.[iii] The authors suggest that the greater use by women 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.[iv] An incredible 9% or more of the applied amount is absorbed through the skin.[v]
Pregnant mothers exposed to oxybenzone gave birth to babies with low birth weights,[vi] which “programs” the developing child for greater risks of heart disease, hypertension, type-2 diabetes and other diseases in adulthood.[vii] Furthermore, sunlight causes the chemical to become a potent allergen[viii] [ix] and to form free radicals.[x]
Other dangers of sunscreen chemicals are their potential “gender-bending” characteristics; they increase estrogen and decrease testosterone in men[xi] [xii] and may be partly responsible for the nearly 50% reduction of sperm count in the last few decades.[xiii] Sunscreen chemicals are also known to cause the feminization of fish,[xiv] and environmental pollution by these and similarly-structured chemicals are now thought to cause feminization in alligators and the gradual extinction of Florida panthers due to failure to breed.[xv]
Enjoy the sun safely by covering up when you have had enough. Chemical sunscreens are not the answer.
[ii] 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 U.S. Virgin Islands. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology Oct 20 2015.
[iii] Calafat AM, Wong LY, Ye X, Reidy JA, Needham LL. 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/).
[iv] Environmental Working Group: Americans Carry Body Burden of Toxic Sunscreen Chemical. March 25, 2008. (available at http://www.ewg.org/node/26212).
[v] Hayden CG, Roberts MS, Benson HA. Systemic absorption of sunscreen after topical application. Lancet 1997:350:863-64.
[vi] Wolff MS, Engel SM, Berkowitz GS, Ye X, Silva MJ, Zhu C, Wetmur J, Calafat AM. Prenatal Phenol and Phthalate Exposures and Birth Outcomes. National Institutes of Health USA Department of Health and Human Services. doi:10.1289/ehp.11007 (available at http://dx.doi.org/)
[vii] Lau C, Rogers JM. 2004. Embryonic and fetal programming of physiological disorders in adulthood. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today 2004;72:300-12.
[viii] Bryden AM, Moseley H, Ibbotson SH, Chowdhury MM, Beck MH, Bourke J, English J, Farr P, et al. Photopatch testing of 1155 patients: results of the U.K. multicentre photopatch group. The British Journal of Dermatology 155:737-47
[ix] 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.
[x] Environmental Working Group: Americans Carry Body Burden of Toxic Sunscreen Chemical. March 25, 2008. (available at http://www.ewg.org/node/26212).
[xi] Environmental Working Group: Americans Carry Body Burden of Toxic Sunscreen Chemical. March 25, 2008. (available at http://www.ewg.org/node/26212).
[xii] Ma R, Cotton B, Lichtensteiger W, Schlumpf M. UV Filters with Antagonistic Action at Androgen Receptors in the MDA-kb2 Cell Transcriptional-Activation Assay. Toxicological Sciences 2003;74:43-50.
[xiii] Pickart, L. The Chemical Sunscreen Health Disaster 2000-2008. (available at http://www.skinbiology.com/toxicsunscreens.html)
[xiv] Kunz PY, Galicia HF, Fent K. Comparison of in vitro and in vivo estrogenic activity of UV filters in fish. Toxicol Sci 2006:90:349-61.
[xv] Pickart, L. The Chemical Sunscreen Health Disaster. 2000-2008. (available at http://www.skinbiology.com/toxicsunscreens.html)
[xvi] Brand RM, Pike J, Wilson RM, Charron AR. Sunscreens containing physical UV blockers can increase transdermal absorption of pesticides. Toxicol Ind Health. 2003;19:9-16.
[xvii] Pont AR, Charron AR, Brand RM. Active ingredients in sunscreens act as topical penetration enhancers for the herbicide 2,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2004;195:348-54.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD
Drs. Asta Juzeniene and Johan Moan wrote a paper in 2012 that beautifully summarizes the effects of sunlight beyond the production of vitamin D. Here are the highlights of their paper, as stated in the abstract. They discuss the separate affects of Ultraviolet B light (UVB) and ultraviolet A light (UVA), which are, of course, components of sunlight.
- UVB induces cosmetic tanning (immediate pigment darkening, persistent pigment darkening and delayed tanning).
- UVB-induced, delayed tanning acts as a sunscreen.
- Several human skin diseases, like psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis and localized scleroderma, can be treated with sunlight or artificial UV radiation (phototherapy).
- UV exposure can suppresses multiple sclerosis independently of vitamin D synthesis.
- UVA generates nitric oxide (NO), which may reduce blood pressure and generally improve cardiovascular health.
- UVA induced NO may also have antimicrobial effects.
- UVA induced NO may act as a neurotransmitter.
- UV exposure may improve mood through the release of endorphin.
It wasn’t mentioned in the paper, but we now know that sunlight also helps generate serotonin in the brain, which improves mood, and outside the body it is a potent disinfectant (see my recent blogs on those subjects). So those who claim that sunlight is harmful in any amount, must be living on a different planet. Embrace the Sun, but never burn.
 Asta Juzeniene and Johan Moan. Beneficial effects of UV radiation other than via vitamin D production. Dermato-Endocrinology 4:2, 109–117; April/May/June 2012.
By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute
In an online Newspaper, Irish Examiner, there is a provocative headline: Why a sunscreen can put your health in the shade. Helen O’Callaghan, the author, starts out well by talking about how sunscreens block vitamin D production from sun exposure. She then progresses through a series of diseases that are related to vitamin D deficiency: bone weakness, compromised immune system, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, adverse pregnancy problems and allergies.
Dr. Mercola, whose natural-health website is probably the most popular in the world, just posted an article that corroborates my beliefs regarding sunscreens, sunlight exposure, and the misguided advice of the dermatological industry. In it he makes several important points:
(1) The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) has been “bought” by cosmetics giant Neutrogena for $200,000, with the supposed goal of helping to educate the public about the importance of sunscreens. In reality, it is a marketing ploy for Neutrogena which will help them to increase their sunscreen sales by $millions.
(2) Regular sunlight exposure is inversely correlated to many diseases, including cancer (one is melanoma), heart disease, dental diseases, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, kidney disease, osteoporosis and weakened immunity.
(3) Some well-known dermatologists have said stated that sunlight exposure is not an efficient method of increasing vitamin D levels–an obvious falsehood.
(4) Tanning beds have taken a bad rap; they are capable of increasing health benefits, provided the correct type of bed is used–one with the correct ration of UVA to UVB.
(5) Typical chemical sunscreens can actually increase the risk of developing skin cancer and may have many other deleterious effects.
(6) Antioxidants from food can dramatically reduce the risk of skin damage from sunlight.
Dr. Mercola’s comments about the cozy relationship between Neutrogena and the CCS did not come as a surprise to me, since Neutrogena for years has paid $300,000 per year to the American Cancer Society (ACS) for the right to use the ACS logo in their advertising. What a great way to sell sunscreens! As Dr. Bernard Ackerman (a famous and enlightened dermatologist) stated in his scathing attack on his own profession, ” The American Academy of Dermatology, the Skin-Cancer Foundations and the American Cancer Society sold their seals of recommendation to sunscreen manufacturers, the price being substantial in terms of dollars, but incalculable in regards to tarnish of honor.” (A Bernard Ackerman, dermatologist. The Sun and the “Epidemic” of Melanoma: Myth on Myth 2008.)
So Kudos to Dr Mercola, who is helping to expose the truth about sunlight’s marvelous health benefits, and the fraud behind the anti-sun movement. Be sure to read his entire article.
By: Dr. Marc Sorenson, Sunlight Institute–
Should children over the age of six months use sunscreen year-round, even in sunless, cloudy weather? Of course not—but that idea may make $millions for the sunscreen manufacturers.
How convenient for the Skin Cancer Foundation to state, “for adequate protection against melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancers and photo-aging, everyone over the age of six months should use sunscreen daily year-round, in any weather.” The Skin Cancer Foundation, of course, was founded by sunscreen manufacturers, which are forbidden by the FDA to claim that their products prevent melanoma. This statement by the FDA belies the claims of the Skin Cancer Foundation: “the available evidence fails to show that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer or premature skin aging. Thus, the anti-aging, skin cancer, and sun damage claims proposed by the comments [of the sunscreen industry] would be false or misleading due to lack of sufficient data in support of these claims.” Dr. Bernard Ackerman, a celebrated dermatologist, has further stated, “…the American Academy of Dermatology, the Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society sold their seals of recommendation to manufacturers of sunscreen, the price being substantial in terms of dollars but incalculable in regard to tarnish of honor.” He continued, “…sunscreen companies pay it [the Skin Cancer Foundation] many thousands of dollars annually in the hope of gaining many millions of dollars in return.”
Sunscreens block UVB and are (supposedly) intended to decrease sun damage to the skin—damage that is said to increase the risk of melanoma. Sunscreen use has increased considerably in the past few decades. Therefore, if sunlight exposure is the cause of melanoma, there should be an accompanying decrease in melanoma. Exactly the opposite has happened. According to Kline & Company, a research group, sales of sunscreens in 1972 were $33 million; in 2008, sales were $650 million. In addition, according to the Fredonia Market Research Group Company, the sale of sunscreens used in cosmetics in 2007 was $130 million. Therefore, the total sales of sunscreens as of 2007 were $780 million. Considering that a dollar’s value is only about 20% of what it was in 1972, the adjusted 2008 sunscreen expenditures are approximately $156 million, or about 4.7 times the 1972 figure. In other words, sunscreen use has increased by about 4.7 times. Population has also grown from 210 million in 1972 to 305 million in 2008—a 50% increase. Adjusting for population growth, it can be concluded that per-capita sunscreen use has at least tripled in the time frame being considered—the figure may actually be much higher. It is counterintuitive then, to state that sunscreen use prevents melanoma.
Consider the following: Melanoma incidence, according to the Melanoma International Foundation (MIF) has increased steadily and exponentially since 1935. Sunscreen use, as just explained, has also increased. Therefore, the data on increasing sunscreen use does not indicate that sunlight exposure increases the risk of melanoma; rather, it indicates that sunscreen use may contribute to the increase in melanoma. It has been shown that an SPF 15 sunscreen will decrease sun-stimulated vitamin D production by 99.5%, and it has been suggested that by blocking only UVB light (which stimulates the production of vitamin D in skin) while leaving UVA unblocked, sunscreens ironically may lead to UVA damage of DNA, leading to melanoma.  Increasing melanoma rates, coupled with increasing use of sunscreens, lends credence to that hypothesis. Vitamin D also provides photoprotection (protection against sun damage) by facilitating DNA repair. We gain nothing by eliminating vitamin D production through sunscreen use.
So why should the Skin Cancer Foundation make such a ludicrous statement? The answer is this: follow the money.
 The Skin Cancer Foundation’s “Guide to Sunscreen” http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/the-skin-c…
 Proposed Rules, Federal Register # 165 2007;72: 49070.
 A Bernard Ackerman, The sun and the “epidemic” of Melanoma: Myth on Myth! 2008
 Kline & Company’s Cosmetics & Toiletries USA Annual Service (1972 and 2008 editions).
 Fredonia market research group report, 2009.
Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma. Sources: : National Cancer Institute 2007 SEER Database, American Cancer Society’s 2007 Facts and Figures, The Skin Cancer Foundation, The American Academy of Dermatology.
 Matsuoka LY, Ide L, Wortsman J, MacLaughlin JA, Holick MF. Sunscreens suppress cutaneous vitamin D3 synthesis. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 1987; 64:1165-68.
 Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED. Could sunscreens increase melanoma risk? Am J Public Health 1992;82(4):614-5.
 Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED. Rising trends in melanoma. An hypothesis concerning sunscreen effectiveness. Ann Epidemiol 1993 Jan;3(1):103-10.
 Mason R, et al. Photoprotection by 1_,25-dihydroxyvitamin D and analogs: Further studies on mechanisms and implications for UV-damage. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 121 (2010) 164–168.
By: Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute–
It is undeniable that sunscreen use has profoundly increased in the past few decades, and in spite of that increase, the incidence of melanoma (CMM) continues to climb in the US. A new report, actually a clinical review in the Journal or the American Board of Family Practice, comes to the following conclusions:
- “Despite the availability and promotion of sunscreen for decades, the incidence of CMM continues to increase in the U.S. at a rate of 3% per year.”
- There currently is little evidence that sunscreens are protective against CMM.
- A number of studies suggest that the use of sunscreen does not significantly decrease the risk CMM, and may actually increase the risk of both CMM and sunburns.
The author of the report, Dr. Margaret Planta, also notes that the environmental protection Agency (EPA), states that “there is no evidence that sunscreens protect you from malignant melanoma.”
The Melanoma International Foundation has (MIF) has stated, “Melanoma is epidemic: rising faster than any other cancer and projected to affect one person in 50 by 2010, currently it affects 1 in 75. In 1935, only one in 1500 was struck by the disease.” In other words, as sun exposure has dramatically decreased, melanoma has exponentially increased. Quite obviously, the use of sunscreens has been one reason for the decrease in sunlight exposure. Consider this: if UVR exposure is the cause of CMM as stated by the IMF, there should be a concomitant decrease in melanoma as sunscreen use has increased. However, according to Kline & Company, a research group, sales of sunscreens in 1972 were $33 million; in 2008, sales were $650 million. In addition, according to the Fredonia Market Research Group Company, the sales of sunscreens used in cosmetics in 2007 were $130 million. Interestingly, the MIF suggests that we must do a better job of teaching people to avoid the sun. Isn’t there something terribly wrong with that reasoning?
Sunscreen is a big business that is of no real value to anyone but those who sell it. Follow the money and you will see the reason for the continuing promotion of sunscreens. So hats off to Dr. Planta, who has done her part to expose the sunscreen swindle. After her analysis, she states … “providers may need to alter their advice regarding sunscreen use for CMM prevention.”
 Margaret B. Planta, MD Sunscreen and Melanoma: Is Our Prevention Message Correct? J Am Board Fam Med 2011;24:735–739.
 United States Environmental Protection Agency. Sunscreen: The Burning Facts. Available at: http://www.epa.gov/sunwise/doc/sunscreen.pdf.
 Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma. Sources: : National Cancer Institute 2007 SEER Database, American Cancer Society’s 2007 Facts and Figures, The Skin Cancer Foundation, The American Academy of Dermatology.
 Kline & Company’s Cosmetics & Toiletries USA Annual Service (1972 and 2008 editions).
 Fredonia market research group report, 2009.
By: Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute–
In the rush by dermatologists and sunscreen companies to demonize sunlight exposure as the universal cause of skin cancers, there has been a total disregard for another factor that strongly protects against or strongly promotes skin damage. That factor is what we eat. Nutrition, according to whether it is healthful or noxious, can have either profoundly positive or negative influences on the skin.
As an example, polyphenols are antioxidant phytochemicals that prevent free-radical damage and thus protect the skin. Polyphenols are prevalent in foods such as nuts, seeds, onions, green tea, pomegranates, apples, berries, cherries and other fruits, grape seeds, as well as vegetables and dried legumes. They also exist in such nutrients as resveratrol and silymarin (milk thistle extract). These nutritional superstars are able to reduce inflammation, quench oxidative stress and thereby prevent free-radical damage to DNA, inhibit immunosuppression, and diminish dysregulation of cellular signaling pathways, thereby reducing the potential for skin cancers.[i],[ii]
Particularly interesting is the fact that green tea extract and other polyphenol-containing products such as grape-seed proanthocyanadins, have been shown to inhibit the formation of skin tumors. Two researchers, writing in the Archives of Dermatological Research, made the following conclusion after a thorough review of literature regarding polyphenols and skin cancer: “Based on the epidemiological evidence and laboratory studies conducted using in vitro and in vivo systems, it is suggested that routine consumption or topical treatment of these polyphenols may provide efficient protection against the harmful effects of solar ultraviolet radiation in humans.”2
We might conclude that protective nutrition would include the consumption of several glasses of green tea daily, some dark green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and other deep greens, and the daily habit of eating dark berries, cherries and other such fruits. But there are other vegetables involved in the fight against skin cancer.
Some of the best skin protectants are tomatoes, which contain the antioxidant lycopene. One investigation showed that among individuals who consumed forty grams of tomato paste daily for ten weeks, sunburn-resistance time increased by 40%,[iii] and other research demonstrated that eating other tomato-based products correlated to significantly reduced risk of sunburn after exposure to ultraviolet radiation.[iv] And it is also known that individuals with the lowest intake of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein, and lycopene (all carotenoid antioxidants found in such vegetables as carrots and tomatoes) had a 50% increased risk for melanoma.[v]
And what are factors that have negative influences on the risk of skin cancer? Alcohol consumption is one such factor; research indicated a 250% increased melanoma risk among those who consumed two or more alcoholic drinks per day.[vi] There are at least two other negative dietary aspects that correlate to increased skin-cancer risk: first, the highest dairy-product consumption has also been shown to correlate to a 2 ½ times increase in risk of developing a squamous-cell carcinoma (common skin cancer, not melanoma).[vii] Secondly, the types of fats we consume are exceptionally important. In my book, I have discussed and documented this topic thoroughly, but suffice it to say that the types of fats we consume in junk foods are deadly, both for overall health and for skin cancer. They are filled with free-radical molecules that wreak havoc on the skin; if we eat such fats without massive quantities of colorful fruits and veggies, we will be much more susceptible to skin damage and potential cancer.
To summarize: to the extent that sunlight causes skin damage, it does so due to lack of proper nutrients in the diet, and there is little doubt that there will be some damage caused by sun exposure without proper nutrition. Even vitamin D, which protects against so many cancers (including skin cancer), will not be able to completely overcome the deleterious effect of the “suicide diet” that most of us consume.
[i] Afaq F, Katiyar SK. Polyphenols: Skin Photoprotection and Inhibition of Photocarcinogenesis. Mini Rev Med Chem 2011 Oct 28. [Epub ahead of print]
[ii] Afaq F, Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Arch Dermatol Res 2010;302:71.
[iii] Stahl, W. et al. Dietary Tomato Paste Protects against Ultraviolet Light–Induced Erythema in Humans. J Nutr 2001;131:1449-51.
[iv] Aust, O. et al. Supplementation with tomato-based products increases lycopene, phytofluene, and phytoene levels in human serum and protects against UV-light-induced erythema. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2005;75:54-60.
[v] Millen A. et al. Diet and melanoma in a case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2004;13:1042-51
[vi] Bain, C. et al. Diet and melanoma. An exploratory case-control study. Ann Epidemiol 1993;3:235-38.
[vii] Hughes, M. et al. Food intake and risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin in a community: The Nambour skin cancer cohort study. Int J Cancer 2006; online publication ahead of print.
According to Dr. Sujata Udeshi, 98% of her patients present with deficiencies of either vitamin D or vitamin B12, which she attributes to lack of sunlight exposure, the use of sun blocks and the consumption of processed foods. And interestingly, she recommends that sunlight exposure takes place between the hours of 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, exactly the time of day that the sunscare practioners tell us to avoid sunlight. It is good to see more health practitioners suggesting reasonable sun exposure.
By Dr. David Jockers–
Before you lather up with sunscreen for a long day outside you should look at what is actually in the bottle. These lotions contain chemical mixtures that have been proven to block UVA & UVB radiation exposure and prevent sunburn. These chemical cocktails are now linked to serious health consequences including an increased risk of cancer. Natural strategies allow us to optimize sun exposure without chemical toxins and to boost our health.
The sun provides our body with an essential stress through its UV radiation. This UV radiation stress signals a molecule on the skin (7-dehydrocholesterol) to convert to the active form of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in the body. Vitamin D3 synthesis depends upon UVB radiation, which effectively penetrates only the epidermal (outer) layers of the skin.
Vitamin D deficiency is a current epidemic in our society today affecting 90% of our world`s population. According to Vitamin D expert Michael Holick, `We estimate that vitamin D deficiency is the most common medical condition in the world.` It is clear that most people are not getting enough healthy sun exposure. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risk of virtually every form of cancer including skin cancer, cardiovascular disease and immune insufficiencies.
Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer that has always been associated with excessive sun exposure. However, many recent studies have shown that individuals wearing sunscreen had a higher likelihood of getting melanoma. Additionally, melanoma patients with increased levels of sun exposure were less likely to die than other melanoma patients. Patients, who already had melanoma and a lot of sun exposure, were prone to a less aggressive tumor type.
Due to worries over excessive sun exposure many people choose to lather up with sunscreen. In 2007 the FDA admitted that they “are not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer.” The International Agency for Research on Cancer recommends clothing, hats and shade as primary barriers to UV radiation. They have written that “sunscreens should not be the first choice for skin cancer prevention and should not be used as the sole agent for protection against the sun.”
Up to 30% of the sunscreens on the market contain a form of Vitamin A that may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. The industry uses retinyl palmitate in its formulas because it is an anti-oxidant that enhances skin health. Numerous studies have shown that Vitamin A can cause excessive skin growth (hyperplasia) and that sunlight can damage the anti-oxidant and cause it to form harsh free radicals that damage DNA.
Other toxins found in common sunscreens include:
Benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone) Cinnamates
PABA esters Salicylates Digalloyl trioleate
Menthyl anthranilate Avobenzone
All of these ingredients are highly toxic to our skin and bodies. They produce rampant amounts of free radicals that create an excess of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a potent carcinogen that causes genetic mutations. These chemicals are highly estrogenic in that they mimic the effects of estrogen within our body and cause hormonal disruptions that increase cancer cell formation.
Natural sun screen protection comes from tropical oils such as coconut, eucalyptus, jojoba, & shea butter. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide when applied appropriately are powerful protectants from the damaging effects of too much sun. It is always advisable to wear hats and other clothing if you know you are going to spend an excessive time in the sun. Apply aloe vera and/or coconut oil on any area that is overexposed to help ease the pain and nourish the skin. Both of these sources support the skin microflora and harmonize the healing process.
MUMBAI: Growing awareness about the dangers of prolonged exposure to sunlight has made sunscreens a routine for most people. However, few know sunscreens themselves could be a serious source of allergy and cause more harm than the sun itself.
For instance, Ruchita Kura, a class IX student of a Dadar school, broke into rashes every time she stepped out of her house. But recently, added to the rashes were swollen cheeks. A thorough examination in Delhi last week revealed she was allergic to para-aminobenzoic acid, a common ingredient in sunscreens.
A sunscreen could be responsible for 1% of skin allergies; dermatologists believe many people are allergic to them but unaware of it. “Most common triggers are fragrance, preservatives or chemicals in a sunscreen lotion,” said skin specialist Dr Sudhir Medhekar from GT Hospital. Studies have shown that compounds such as oxybenzone and dioxybenzone in sunscreen lotions are often associated with allergies.
“Women who use cosmetics regularly can be vulnerable as they are likely to contain sunscreen,” said Dr Asha Pherwani, allergy specialist at PD Hinduja Hospital. “Certain medications can also make an individual prone to solar allergy or sunscreen allergy.”
Experts say it is important to determine which form of sunscreen an individual is allergic to. Sunscreens contain chemical absorbers to absorb UV rays. Sunblocks, which reflect sun rays, are more likely to have zinc or potassium that can cause irritation.
Dr Pherwani, however, said people prone to allergies need not completely stop using sunscreens. “They can go for a detailed examination like a patch test. We can test the ingredients of the sunscreen for allergy-causing chemicals and a person can avoid using products containing them.”