Slathering on sunscreen is supposed to be a safe and Dermatologist recommended antidote to help minimize the risks of sun damage. But this summer’s sunscreen recalls, have left many wondering if sunscreen is doing more harm than good.
Valisure, an independent laboratory, revealed in a bombshell report that 27 percent of the sunscreen and after-sun products it tested contained high levels of benzene, a carcinogen found in petroleum products and cigarette smoke.
“Benzene is one of the most studied and concerning human carcinogens known to science,” said David Light, founder and CEO of Valisure. “Its association with forming blood cancers in humans has been shown in numerous studies at trace levels of parts per million and below. The presence of this known human carcinogen in products widely recommended for the prevention of skin cancer and that are regularly used by adults and children is very troubling.”
It is important to note that not all sunscreen products contain benzene and that Valisure didn’t detect any benzene in a multitude of sunscreens.
However, the benzene scare only adds to the FDA’s 2020 findings that six active sunscreen ingredients — avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate — were absorbed through the skin and into the body, resulting in measurable blood levels. But don’t fully panic!
Sunscreens are still recommended by Dermatologists and are important for protecting against potentially harmful solar radiation, minimizing the risk of skin cancer and sun damage.
In reviewing the Valisure report, it’s clear that mineral sunscreens (without nanoparticles or sunscreen chemicals) are still a great option, but for the most part, spray and chemical sunscreens should be totally avoided.
What are the “safest” sunscreens?
Not all sunscreens are created equal and the industry still remains largely unregulated, so do your own research and choose what works best for your body.
The EWG lists some mineral sunscreens that are safe (and I’ve tried many of these personally). Here’s are our top 7 recommendations:
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