Skip to content

Are You Using Toxic Sunscreen?

by Dr. Andrew T. Brady, Chiropractic Physician

Dr. Andrew BradyAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Between 1973 and 2003, malignant melanoma increased by 83% and continues to increase at a rate of 3% per year. We have all heard that we should apply sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, but did you know that a number of published studies suggest that applying sunscreen either does not significantly decrease the risk or may actually increase the risk of melanoma? A 2006 publication from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stated “there is no evidence that sunscreens protect you from malignant melanoma.” Contrary to the research, huge efforts have been made to increase the use of sunscreens that block UVA and UVB radiation, but is the sunscreen you use doing more harm than good?

Many of the widely used commercial sunscreens contain ingredients that are actually harmful to your skin and body. Some of the most common toxic chemicals in these sunscreens are avobenzone, oxybenzone, phthalates, and parabens. Studies show that when avobenzone is exposed to sunlight, it creates carbon-centered free radicals and damages DNA. This alone is a significant risk factor for developing skin cancer, yet we are spraying this onto our skin to prevent it.

The Effects of Oxybenzone

A few studies have also shown that oxybenzone can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. This chemical has been shown to disrupt hormones and mimic the effects of estrogen. Also, due to its UVA and UVB blocking ability, oxybenzone prevents your body from producing vitamin D. A deficiency in vitamin D is actually a risk factor for developing malignant melanoma, as well as a number of other diseases. The human species has been producing vitamin D through UVB exposure since the beginning of time. In the proper amount, UVB rays are essential for health.

Phthalates and Parabens

Some of the latest research considers phthalates and parabens “probable human carcinogens,” which means they probably cause cancer. If your sunscreen contains phthalates or parabens, it seems counterproductive to spray something on your skin that “probably causes cancer” to help prevent cancer. The scary thing is that a lot of these toxic sunscreens are deemed “dermatologist approved/recommended.” I believe this to be more of a marketing scheme rather than a scientific one.

Safer Choices

The good news is that there are a number of different sunscreens that do not contain any of these toxic chemicals and are just as effective at preventing sunburns. One of my favorites is The Honest Company sunscreen. This sunscreen does not contain any parabens, phthalates, benzones, or any other known cancer causing chemicals. I always wait at least 20 minutes before applying sunscreen so that my body has a chance to produce a sufficient amount of natural vitamin D. The key is to prevent sunburn, not sun exposure. Next time you need sunscreen, consider buying one without all the toxic chemicals. Your body will thank you!

Schedule Your Appointment Today!

If you’re interested in learning more, contact Spine Integrative Wellness today and book your first visit with us! We have same-day appointments available.

Spine Integrative Wellness Article – Toxic Sunscreen | (234) 284-8002