The Dangers Of Sunscreen Lotion

It is undeniable that sunscreen lotions and sunblock lotions can help prevent sunburn. Using sunscreen lotion (topical sunscreens) can be an important precautionary measure in protecting sensitive skin from the harmful effects of the sun, including burning, aging, and skin cancer. Many experts recommend the use of a non-toxic sunscreen lotion whenever there is a chance of getting sunburned. The problem is that non-toxic sunscreens are almost non-existent!

Most sunscreen lotions are unstable, toxic, and ineffective against UVA rays. Sunsafe Rx conquers these limitations by not only being healthy, safe, and effective against UVA and UVB rays, but also offering a number of distinct advantages over traditional sunscreens.

For further information on sunscreen toxicity and other concerns about sunscreen lotions, expand the respective sections below:

There are drawbacks to the use of topical sunscreen. Most sunscreen lotions help block or absorb UVB rays, but do little to filter out UVA rays. UVB causes sunburn, but UVA penetrates deeper into the skin and most likely does more damage than UVB. In fact, UVA rays not only damage DNA, but also harm other structures in skin such as collagen and elastin, leading to many of the negative effects of sunlight—including aging—without the visual signs of burning! This means that even with the use of most sunscreens you are still vulnerable; even worse, you may be sustaining damage in the sun without even realizing it!

Furthermore, SPF (Sun Protection Factor) only characterizes UVB protection, not a sunscreen’s ability to protect from UVA rays. Sunscreen lotion manufacturers may make “broad spectrum” claims or state that a sunscreen protects from both UVB and UVA rays, but the level of UVA coverage is unknown because UVA protection is not quantified AT ALL by SPF. In other words, a sunscreen may be listed as SPF 60 but may or may not provide any protection from UVA rays. Consequently, you may think you are fully protecting yourself with a high SPF, which leads you to be in the sun longer and actually do more severe damage to your skin via UVA exposure!

It has been clinically shown that the majority of sunscreen lotions break down in the sun. But not only do common sunscreen components including avobenzone, oxybenzone, dioxybenzone, octocrylene, and others lose their effectiveness when exposed to the sun, they are actually unstable—breaking down and creating free radicals and reactive oxygen species. These harmful effects have been demonstrated in many studies, demonstrating the harmful effects of photo-excited sunscreen ingredients on living tissue and implicating these chemicals as potential photocarcinogens!

Similarly, Vitamin A (retinal) and Vitamin A derivatives (including retinol and retinyl palmitate) in sunscreen lotions have also been shown to be photo-unstable. Approximately half of the 500 most popular sunscreen products contain Vitamin A or its derivatives, which research has recently revealed may actually increase the chances of developing cancerous skin cells.

Potentially, sunscreen could actually be contributing to the damage of the very skin it was intended to protect! Warning: This also applies to lotions and cosmetics that contain sunscreen and/or Vitamin A.

Some of the ingredients in sunscreen lotions penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. These dangerous ingredients can cause unintended effects, including interfering with the body’s natural hormone systems.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), oxybenzone can be a hormone disruptor; its detection in pregnant women correlates with lower baby birth weight. Furthermore, according to the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., about 9% of the oxybenzone applied to skin soaks through it into the bloodstream. Sunscreens also commonly contain many structurally and functionally similar chemicals to oxybenzone, including dioxybenzone and other benzene derivatives, which act in a similar manner to oxybenzone in the body.
Some of the potentially toxic chemicals in sunscreens include:

  • Avobenzone (Parsol 1789, Eusolex 9020, Escalol 517)
  • Oxybenzone (benzophenone-3, Eusolex 4360, Escalol 567)
  • Dioxybenzone (benzophenone-8)
  • Octocrylene
  • Sulisobenzone (benzophenone-4)
  • Phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid (ensulizole)
  • Homosalate
  • Cinoxate
  • PABA (4-Aminobenzoic acid, para-aminobenzoic acid)
  • Padimate O (OD-PABA, octyldimethyl PABA, Escalol 507)
  • Trolamine salicylate

A more recent trend has been towards “natural” sunscreen lotions containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. One aesthetic problem, however, is that they do not absorb into the skin very well, resulting in a white-looking film when they are rubbed onto the skin. In response, manufacturers have started utilizing micronized (industrially-created to be ultra-fine) zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These nanoparticles are more easily absorbed into the skin and don’t appear as white when applied. The problem is that they are also more easily absorbed into the blood stream and may have serious health concerns. Be careful to avoid micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which researchers increasingly believe may have adverse health implications.

If you have to use a sunscreen lotion, many experts suggest using a product with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which together offer full-coverage (UVA and UVB) protection from the sun and have been shown to be much less likely to break down (have greater photo-stability) in the sun than other traditional chemical sunscreens. Make sure, however, that the product doesn’t contain any of the potentially toxic or carcinogenic compounds discussed in the sections above. Furthermore, choose a product that doesn’t contain retinal, retinol, or retinyl palmitate, and doesn’t use micronized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Yet even if you can find it, the perfect sunscreen lotion has limitations:

  • It doesn’t reflect or block all ultraviolet radiation: some still gets through
  • It is especially ineffective against UVA rays
  • It may encourage longer sun exposure and therefore greater sun damage
  • It only works on the areas to which it is applied
  • It can be difficult to apply
  • It can be messy
  • It can be visible and unsightly on the skin
  • It can be inconvenient to use
  • It may prevent the production of Vitamin D

Sunsafe Rx® overcomes many of the limitations of sunscreen lotion:

  • Sunsafe Rx® provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays
  • Sunsafe Rx® is 100% safe and will not contribute to the production of extra free-radicals on the skin
  • Sunsafe Rx® can offer a safety net, aiding your body’s ability to catch what sunscreen misses
  • Sunsafe Rx® is “full coverage,” acting across the whole body, not just the areas you can reach
  • Sunsafe Rx® doesn’t rub off
  • Sunsafe Rx® isn’t messy
  • Sunsafe Rx® is easy to use
  • Sunsafe Rx® doesn’t interfere with the body’s production of Vitamin D

Sunsafe Rx defends against the damaging effects of both UVA and UVB rays without any of the dangerous health concerns of sunscreen lotion use.

To learn more about the Sunsafe Rx® formula, click here.