Ingredients In Your Sunscreen: The Bad And The Good

When it comes to picking out sunscreen, I look for the cheapest one with the most SPF. Sounds reasonable, right? After doing some searching I realized how much thinking should actually go into picking out sunscreen. SPF is important, of course, but so are the ingredients. Here are 5 ingredients you should look out for before checking out your next sunscreen bottle.

Some sunscreen lotions carry harmful chemicals that are not only bad for you but also bad for the aquatic life. A lot of these ingredients listed below are so bad that they’ve been banned in Hawaii.

1.      Oxybenzone: This ingredient is very common and is sometimes called benzophenone-3 but should not be confused with benzophenone, another common sunscreen ingredient. Oxybenzone is linked to endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, contact allergies and photoallergies.

2.      Octinoxate: This commonly used UV filter is good for protecting UVB rays but not UVA sunrays. Octinoxate is linked to endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicity. Researchers have even detected it in breast milk, urine and blood.

3.      Homosalate: An ingredient only good for absorbing UVB rays only and does not even breakdown readily in the environment. Homosalate is linked to hormone disruption and is known for enhancing the absorption of pesticides and bug sprays.

Not all sunscreen ingredients are bad. I mean there has to be some good ones that get the job done. Some safer ingredients you want in your sunscreen include:

4.      Titanium Dioxide: This is a naturally occurring mineral found in the earth’s curst. It works as a UV absorber for UVB rays and some UVA rays. Although it might not provide full UVA protection it is safe for people and the planet.

5.      Zinc Oxide: Another naturally occurring UV absorber that offers a broader spectrum protection. It is also safe for people and the planet while protecting you from all UVA and UVB rays.

I did not think that picking out sunscreen for myself would become an act towards saving aquatic life and the planet. It is important that we are cautious about what we put on our skin not only can it be harmful to ourselves internally but also to the waters we touch with it.