A magic cream that prevents against wrinkles, skin cancer, and sun damage all in one?!
Wow. Maybe I should bathe in it.
Sounds like a great idea. If you don’t take into account that sunscreens haven’t been regulated by the FDA since 1978.
So…. What’s really in the white goop our mother’s have been nagging us to slather on every time we leave the house on the sunniest cloudy days? Last year, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) conducted a study where they reviewed over 2,050 sunscreens from over 250 different brands and found that 75% of the white goop we slather on contains toxins hat are proven to increase the risk of melanoma, and other forms of cancer.
The same 19 garbage chemicals are found in our sunscreens today as in 1978, because unlike the UK, which approves more active ingredients for sunscreens every year, the US just keeps renewing the same old garbage because… well… I’m going to let you draw your own conclusions for that one. (Capitalism?)
So let’s talk about a few of these ingredients, most likely found in a any white goop on every shelf of every pharmacy near you!
1) Oxybenxone is the mother of all chemical sunscreens. Possibly the father too.
Over 55% of every sunscreen that you see contains this chemical, which absorbs straight into the skin and was found is 97% of urine samples by a study done in 2008. It disrupts hormones and is linked to breast cancer, has been linked to eczema and allergies, but scariest of all it increases the production of free radicals and actually changes DNA cells. It is responsible for the increase of melanoma among those who use sunscreen, so ironically, the very thing that you shmeer on to stop skin cancer actually causes skin cancer.
2. Octinoxate is the second most readily available active ingredients in sunscreens in the US. It actually is absorbed way deeper into the body than it’s friend Oxybenzone, and it’s actually found in mother’s breastmilk. It messes with the thyroid, and causes serious reproductive issues in animals, because of it’s hormone like activity. Oh and for all of us vain gals and guys out there… It also produces free radicals that are linked to causing premature aging. So no, absolutely not. No no no no no. Get away.
So, what can we do? In the US, not much. But in Europe, there’s hope on the horizon! French companies just invented new chemicals that are safe and really effective, the problem is European sunscreens are still banned in the US. Why, you might ask? Well because the FDA is “considering manufacturers applications.” So basically because the FDA doesn’t want to piss off the cancer causing chemical companies.
In the meantime? Try staying out of the sun. Or a hat. They actually have some really cute ones on sale in Forever 21.
(Or do a mineral sunscreen with Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide. Not totally safe, but not as harmful either. Doesn’t absorb into the skin as much, but it has some other issues. Maybe I’ll do a post next week all about mineral sunscreens… Stay tuned for Behind the Screens #2!)