Sunscreen is important for keeping your skin free of damage and preventing cancer. However, not all sunscreen is equal and you want to be sure you are getting the best mineral sunscreen. Thinksport is sponsoring this post to help you learn about the harmful ingredients in many sunscreens and about safer options.
I’m very fair-skinned and burn easily. I’ve even been known to get a bit of a sunburn just by putting clothes on the clothesline. Forgetting to wear sunscreen is just not an option for me.
I use mineral makeup that naturally works as a sunscreen and that works for most days. However, if I’m going to be outside for any real length of time I need more protection on my face and the rest of my exposed skin. Pro tip: don’t forget the backs of your hands, the tops of your ears, and your part.
For years I just used the normal sunscreens you buy at any store, they work but the problem is many of the ingredients can have harmful effects and they may not be protecting us as much as we think they are.
Sunscreen in the 1950s
The first major sunscreen, Coppertone, debuted in the 1950s with a suntan lotion. It was advertised to help you get tan faster and deeper while protecting you from the sun by preventing burns.
We now know that’s not true and tanning is still damaged skin and is a big risk for skin cancer. The first SPF appeared in the 1960s but it was still in very low amounts, around 2-4 SPF.
The Problem with Sunscreen
We often just look at the SPF value when picking out sunscreen and assume it will protect our skin from UV damage. The problem is many sunscreens don’t provide enough protection from UVA rays. UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburns and pre-cancerous cells but UVA rays cause more subtle damage. They can cause skin aging and skin cancer.
Most sunscreens also use harmful chemicals that can cause all kinds of health problems. Those health concerns range from causing skin allergies to hormone disruption.
We want to protect ourselves from sun damage and skin cancer but we don’t want to put ourselves at risk for other health problems.
Scary Ingredients in Sunscreen
Oxybenzone: This chemical has high rates of skin allergies. It also is suspected of disrupting your hormones. Meaning it may mimic, block, and/or alter hormone levels. This can cause problems with your endocrine system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found 97% of Americans have this chemical in their bodies.
Octinoxate: One of the most common sunscreen ingredients, it’s readily absorbed by our skin and also can cause other ingredients to be absorbed more easily. It is also a hormone disrupter. The chemical has an effect on estrogen and can be harmful to humans and wildlife. It also produces free radicals and can damage skin and cells, causing premature aging.
Octocrylene: This is another hormone disrupter and can also be toxic to the environment.
Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A Palmitate): You may see this ingredient and think it’s a vitamin so it must be good for you. The problem is certain forms of vitamin A found in sunscreen, namely retinyl palmitate, can produce free radicals that can damage DNA and lead to cancer.
Paraben: You will find this ingredient in a lot of personal care products. It can cause allergic reactions, hormone disruption, development, and reproductive toxicity. Some parabens are even linked to breast cancer.
Phthalates: Found often in fragrance, phthalates are an endocrine disrupter. Some studies have also linked phthalates to liver cancer. There have also been links to asthma.
The Best Mineral Sunscreen
There are safer options out there that work without the possible harmful health effects. These sunscreens use mineral-based ingredients to provide sun protection. Zinc oxide is the most common.
Zinc oxide is one of the minerals in the makeup I use that provides me with daily sun protection. While there are some inhalation concerns with zinc oxide this is only really a concern with sprays or powders. Generally, it’s quite safe.
As someone that burns very easily, I’m a great test subject for sunscreen. I have found zinc oxide works great and keeps me from burning at least as well as the conventional sunscreens I used in the past.
One of the brands I’ve used and really love is Thinksport. It doesn’t use any of the harmful ingredients instead, the active ingredient is zinc oxide and the inactive ingredients are natural and safer.
I will never go back to conventional sunscreens after switching to mineral-based sunscreen. It works and I don’t have to worry about the ingredients.
Did you know about these harmful sunscreen ingredients? Have you tried mineral sunscreen before? Leave a comment below and check out Thinksport.