Health Issues to Consider When PIcking a Sunscreen

Good Guide
July 3, 2009

One summer a few years ago, GoodGuide's founder, Dara, realized that the sunscreen he was putting on his five year-old daughter before she went out to play had a toxic ingredient in it. Out of this shocking realization, GoodGuide was born!

We have since researched many sunscreens and ingredients so that you don't have to send your sunscreen to the lab, like Dara did, to find out what's in it. With these tips, you can protect yourself from the sun and from your sunscreen.

Sun Blocker

In the United States, one of the active ingredients in many sunscreens is oxybenzone, a moderately effective sun blocker, but one that reacts with sunlight to form possibly allergenic and carcinogenic chemicals.

Oxybenzone is popular because it rubs in well, but for safety we recommend sunscreens with either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as the active ingredient.

Tiny Toxins

Some companies use a nano-particle sized version of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide (often referred to on labels as micronized titanium dioxide or micronized zinc oxide), which absorbs better and won't make you look ghostly white.

However, nano-scale ingredients are also small enough to be an inhalation risk in powder or spray-on sunscreens, and titanium dioxide is known to be carcinogenic if inhaled.

Preserve, Protect?

Sunscreens commonly contain immune system toxicants DMDM hydantoin (a form of formaldehyde used as a preservative) and triethanolamine (a common pH adjuster), as well as neurotoxins like aluminum starch octenylsuccinate (a heavy metal used as a thickener).

You may read the rest of this and other articles about safe, healthy and green products by visiting GoodGuide.



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