Kitchen Guides

Safe Sunscreens

by Kim Manning

Please visit the EWG website above for great information on product safety and to search for non-toxic sunscreens. 

"Safe", "Organic", and "Natural" does not mean your products do not contain any toxic chemicals. Your personal and home care products (from shampoo, antibacterial soap, makeup, laundry detergent) contain carcinogenic ingredients, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and allergens that could be very hazardous to your health. It is important to make even small changes, look at the ingredients on your products, and keep learning everyday.

Remember, our skin is our largest organ and it is very thin. When chemicals are put on the skin, they do reach the blood steam. Some products actually contain "penetration enhancers" which will guarantee that these toxins are headed to the tissues in the body. As you know, there are so many chemicals out in the environment that we can't really do anything about. Your skin care products are another story, as well as your cleaning products, and the food you eat. You have 100% control over these, so why not choose wisely.

So, please read your labels and avoid the following chemicals:

FRAGRANCE: manufacturers can legally hide hundreds of ingredients in this one ingredient - "fragrance" or "perfume" - it is called "trade secret" in the industry. More than 75% are legally hiding phthalates (THAL ates) in this ingredient. These are known as endocrine disruptors and are linked to all sorts of problems, including birth defects, breast cancer, ADHAD, etc.

PARABENS: are also known endocrine disruptors. They mimic estrogen and are suspected to be linked to breast cancer.

TRICLOSAN:  s the active ingredient in "anti bacterial" products. It is registered with the government as a pesticide. It is also an known endocrine disruptor.

OXYBENZONE and OCTINOXATE: these are chemical UV ray filters that are also known endocrine disruptors, found in many sunscreens and SPF products.

PETROLATUM & PETROLEUM INGREDIENTS: endocrine disruptors and carcinogens.

PEG's, SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE and INGREDIENTS ENDING IN -ETH: are petrochemicals, that create a known human carcinogen - 1,4 dioxane - during the manufacturing process, which is a known human carcinogen, with liver and kidney effects.

RETINYL PALMITATE: it is in many sunscreens and moisturizers.

NANOPARTICLES: can cross the cell barrier and drive into organs, including the brain in humans. There is no way of knowing particle size, unless stated on the label. In Europe, manufacturers must list nanoparticles on the label, but not in the U.S.

ALUMINUM and METALS like lead, copper, etc:  these are bio-accumulative, meaning they store in your fat cells and accumulate and are very hard to get rid of. Many deodorants contain aluminum as an active ingredient.

DIETHANOLOMINE (DEA) and COCAMIDE DEA, LAURAMIDE DEA: DEA reacts with other ingredients to become the extremely carcinogenic nitrosodiethanolamine. Beware of other ethanolamines like triethanolamine (TEA) and monoethamolamine (MEA).

FORMALDEHYDE RELEASERS - DIAZOLIDINYL UREA, DMDM HYDANTOIN, QUATERNIUM: found in most personal care products. Formaldehyde can cause allergic reactions, dermatitis, joint pains and headaches, cancer and immune dysfunction.

SYNTHETIC COLOR/DYES: made from coal tar, which is a mixture of many chemicals, derived from petroleum. These colors may be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals and some are combined with aluminum substrate. Aluminum compounds and many heavy metals are toxic to the brain, i.e., FD&C BLue 1, Green 3, Yellow 5 & 6, Red 33.

GLYCOL (propylene, butylenes, etc): synthetic petrochemical mix known to cause allergic and toxic reactions. Has been linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive issues, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption.

MINERAL OIL: a petroleum ingredient that coats the skin like plastic wrap, disrupting the natural immune barrier, inhibiting its ability to breath and absorb natural moisture and nutrition, and its ability to release toxins, which can promote acne and other disorders. The process slows down skin function and normal cell development causing premature aging.

TALC: in the same family as asbestos, talc is dangerous to inhale and has been linked to ovarian cancer.

SILOXANES: cyclomethicone and ingredients ending in "siloxane" are toxic, persistent, and have the potential to bioaccumulate. Research shows some to cause uterine tumors and harm to the reproductive and immune systems. Some siloxanes can also influence neurotransmitters int he nervous system.

Source: Ava Anderson