Sunscreens are all the same. Or are they?
With warmer weather in full swing, the natural response is to slather on the sunscreen and get prepared. However, is it possible that the sunscreen you are wearing could be doing more harm than good?
Recently, several studies have suggested that the active ingredients in some sunscreens (Oxybenzone, Benzophenone, Octocrylene, OctylMethoxycinnamate) may be linked to an increased risk of melanoma. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is less common than other skin cancers, but is responsible for at least 75% of the deaths caused by skin cancer. Sunscreens with PABA can cause DNA damage in skin which can also promote cancer. In addition, some of the ingredients listed sunscreens can cause estrogenic effects, since some of the ingredients in sunscreens can mimic the hormone estrogen.
So what is the average person supposed to do? First of all, it is important to understand that sunscreen still serves a purpose for more patients. The sun’s harmful rays lead to dark pigmentation, wrinkles, aging, and skin cancer. However, balance the strength of the sunscreen with the potential effects. A sunscreen of 30 blocks 98% of the sun’s rays. The stronger SPF sunscreens may provide a small amount of additional protection, but with more potential chemicals. Avoiding the sun is probably the best defense against sun cancers. If that is not possible, think of using protective hats and clothing as well. Finally, you can check out how your sunscreen fares on the Environmental Working Group’s website a fantastic resource. Our office recommendation is that many mineral sunscreens can be too thick and make the skin look too chalky. We use Daily Physical Defense SPF 30+ from Skin Medica on active days in the sun. Its product applies to the skin a thin layer which does not diminish the protection it provides to your skin.
Avoid in Sunscreen
- Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3)
- Benzophenone (Dioxybenzone, oxybenzone)
- PABA esters (ethyl dihdroxy propyl PAB, glyceryl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate-o, octyldimetlyl PABA)
- Cinnamates (cinoxate, ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, octorylene, octylmethoxycinnamate)
- Salicylates (ethyl hexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate)