The One Ingredient You DON'T Want in Your Sunscreen

What to look for (and avoid) the next time you think you're choosing "natural" sunscreen.

If there is one ingredient you don't want in your sunscreen, this is it. Beyond simply looking for paraben-free or reef-safe sunscreens, the founder of Zeb's Organics sunscreen says to only use Oxybenzone free sunscreens.

The One Ingredient You DON'T Want in Your Sunscreen this Summer

The one ingredient you don't want in your sunscreen this summer is Oxybenzone. (Although we should really be putting sunscreen on ourselves and our babies every day of the year).

It's interesting how even the most eco-conscious parents pay attention to toxins in food and clothing. But people don’t always realize what they’re putting on their baby.

The EWG website takes all the ingredients you find in cosmetics and gives them a rating from 1-10, pulling external research from the medical and environmental community. They studied the nine most commonly used sunscreen ingredients for toxicity and this is what they found...


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Oxybenzone: The Most Worrisome Sunscreen Ingredient

The most worrisome sunscreen ingredient reviewed by EWG is Oxybenzone, which was added to nearly 65 percent of the non-mineral sunscreens in EWG’s sunscreen database. Oxybenzone can cause allergic skin reactions, is a weak estrogen and has potent anti-androgenic effects.

Oxybenzone, in particular, has been singled out to be an endocrine-disrupting compound, especially male hormones (androgen). You need to be aware of any product that can go trans-dermal (be absorbed into the skin). After a person puts on Oxybenzone, it can be found in blood and urine just hours later, thus having a negative effect on the endocrine system.

Believe it or not, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention routinely detects Oxybenzone in more than 96 percent of the American population. Just one drop of Oxybenzone affects an Olympic-size swimming pool amount of water (which can destroy a coral reef). 

Look for Micro-Level Sunscreens

Sunscreens of a micro level (non-nano form) actually sit on top of the skin, as opposed to being absorbed into the bloodstream. 

Zeb’s Organics founder confessed his sunscreen may not be the end all product, but warns everyone that whatever sunscreen they use, choose zinc oxide in a non-nano format.

We should also be looking for natural oils - not phthalates or parabens (companies add those compounds to prevent separation).

And beware: many products may look natural or be in the "natural" section, but if you search ingredients, you'll find that's not true. In fact, many have Vitamin A, which causes photosensitivity.

Other natural products say “clear” or “Nanonized” - indicating it’s under 100 microns and can potentially enter the bloodstream. "Nanoized" zinc oxide doesn’t leave white residue; whereas if we can see the white stuff, we know it’s been applied and has a large enough particle size that we know it’s not being absorbed into the skin. 

Choose Zinc Oxide & a Short Ingredient List

Make Earth-friendly choices: go with Zinc Oxide and the shortest ingredient list possible when it comes to sunscreen. ingredients in sunscreen should not be irritating or cause skin allergies and should be able to withstand powerful UV radiation without losing their effectiveness or forming potentially harmful breakdown products. (EWG)

Sami Cone

Sami Cone

Best-Selling Author & Speaker

Sami Cone is the best-selling author of "Raising Uncommon Kids", is known as the "Frugal Mom" on Nashville's top-rated talk show "Talk of the Town" and educates over a million listeners every day on her nationally syndicated "Family Money Minute". She is proud to call Nashville home with her husband, Rick, and their two teenage children.

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