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Is your sunblock actually harming you?

2010 July 7

Danny and Brooke catchin some Austin rays at Barton Springs

This weekend, I was walking down SoCo and ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  He looked at me and said, “Dang you’re dark Ari!”

I usually get pretty dark during our Austin-hot-as-the-devil’s-arm-pit-I-wanna-pour-a-sno-cone-all-over-mah-body Summers.  However, this summer the secret to my bronzed skin is simply that I quit sunblock.

Whaaaat????  Is she trying to get skin cancer???

Actually I recently discovered that sunblock may do more harm than good; and I’m taking some time to figure out what option is best for me.

Skin Cancer and Sunblock: Archenemies or Sidekicks?

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group, shows that the majority of sunblocks available to consumers in America may actually accelerate the growth of cancerous cells or cause damage to our internal organs.  In fact, many of these ingredients penetrate the skin in large amounts, disrupt hormones and should not be used on children.

Here are just a few of the top offending ingredients that should NOT be in your sunscreen:

  • “retinyl palmitate” or “retinol”- this form of Vitamin A has proved to expedite cancer development when combined with sunlight.
  • oxybenzone, octinoxate or 4-MBC- they are potential hormone disruptors that penetrate the skin in large amounts.
  • Octyl methoxycinnamate- Estrogenic effects and thyroid hormonal reductions
  • 3-Benzylidene camphor- Hormone disruptor
  • Padimate O- estrogenic effects and damages DNA

**Many of these chemicals permeate the skin an can even be found in breast milk if user is breast feeding.

**Check this report from EWG for a comprehensive list of harmful ingredients and explanations of their potential dangers.

Choosing a Sunblock:

Live Oak Pharmacy in Austin, TX

I went to Target yesterday in search of a simple sunblock, and was overwhelmed when I realized that an entire aisle was dedicated to sunblocks and tanning lotions. How on earth was I supposed to pick a brand and figure out which one was the best choice!?

Check to see how your current sunscreen measures up in the EWG’s searchable database. If you’re shopping for a new sunblock, try sticking with one of EWG’s recommended list.  You can also visit Whole Food’s or Live Oak Pharmacy, our new favorite locally-owned pharmacy,  for sunblocks with no or fewer dangerous chemicals.

Learn more about these and other potential dangers of sunscreen on the Environmental Working Group’s site. You can also find the complete list of harmful ingredients found in most sunscreens.

What do you think?

Are you as shocked as I am?

Are you going to stop wearing sunblock?

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. July 8, 2010

    It may be raining today but the sun will be back and our Pharmacist, Nathan, is happy to answer your questions about sunscreens to help you make the best choice for you and your skin! And don’t forget that covering up in the sun makes it more difficult for your body to make vitamin D. Nathan can talk with you about integrating supplementation into your sun protection regime!

  2. July 8, 2010

    Twitter Comment

    RT @atx4u Is your sunblock actually harming you? - [link to post]

    - Posted using Chat Catcher

  3. July 8, 2010

    Twitter Comment

    [email protected] Is your sunblock actually harming you? -[link to post] - Interesting little tid bit. Now I have an excuse to get dark.

    - Posted using Chat Catcher

  4. July 8, 2010

    Twitter Comment

    RT @atx4u Is your sunblock actually harming you? - [link to post] - Interesting! Now I have an excuse to get real dark!

    - Posted using Chat Catcher

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