Sunscreen: Protect your skin without disrupting your hormones

Women applying sunscreenThe good news: Sunny weather has arrived!

The bad news: Most sunscreen products contain hormone-disrupting chemical “filters.”

When you are out enjoying the sunshine this summer, it’s important to protect your skin cells from the full strength of the UV radiation. The safest option is to apply sunscreen made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide which act as a shield from the UV.

Unfortunately, most mainstream products contain chemical “filter” sunscreens, including some of the following:

Oxybenzone /Avobenzone / Octinoxate / Octisalate

These chemical sunscreens are effective for broad UV protection, but their small carbon-based particles are absorbed through your skin, can clog your pores and studies suggest they may act on hormone pathways once in your body. Reports by the Center for Disease Control show that the vast majority of people tested are excreting Oxybenzone in their urine. This means the chemical is circulating through their body. 

Just like plastics and other known toxins, Oxybenzone and its cousins demonstrate estrogenic activity. This means they can mimic the estrogen and likely disrupt the hormone balance in women, men and children.

Most of us have heard that plastics and parabens (a common ingredient in skin products) can do harm by mimicking estrogen. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, carry similar risks but are widely accepted as safe. Based on results of prior studies, more data needs to be collected and evaluated before we can say that chemical sunscreens pose no harm.

Infants and children are especially vulnerable to hormone-disrupting chemicals. Traditional zinc or titanium based sunscreen is safer and reliable for your little ones, and not hard to find. 

We carry sunscreen options in the clinic for all ages.Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for recommendations. In the meantime, check your products at home and take a moment to familiarize yourself with the common brands containing chemical sunscreens.

Popular chemical sunscreen brands:

-Banana Boat 



We have a few of our favorite at the clinic for you to try as testers.

Posted in Health Blog.