beautE by annE

You Should Avoid These Six Ingredients in Sunscreens

Anne JohnsonComment



Let’s talk about labels. If you are anything like me you only pay attention to the labels of the fashion and food variety, oh and maybe a medicine label every now and again. These labels are important and can give you valuable information about a product. Before college, I paid about zero attention to labels on anything, especially food. I ate whatever my mom bought at the grocery store that week (shout-out Oreos) and never thought about the ingredients in those products. Then I took a college nutrition class and started paying attention. I learned what to look for or steer clear of in certain foods, something I had no idea about before. I wasn’t told to avoid labels that contained certain ingredients, but now I do.

There is so much hype in the news about eating organically and avoiding certain ingredients in foods because they are harmful for your health. People are so worried about not ingesting harmful ingredients that they don’t realize the products they are using on their bodies contain even MORE HARMFUL CHEMICALS that too, are detrimental to their health. For example, sunscreen. When I picked out sunscreen, the only thing I was looking at was the SPF and whether it had UVA/UVB protection. Little did I know, those weren’t the only things I needed to be looking at. Turns out there are certain ”inactive ingredients” in many sunscreens that are very harmful to not only your skin but to your internal organs as well. They can cause hormonal imbalances, be toxic to your organs, or even lead to cancer. Anything you put on your skin is ultimately being absorbed into your body so its extremely important to make sure that whatever is being absorbed, isn’t going to cause potential harm to your health. So what are the ingredients you need to be looking out for? Below is a list of ingredients to avoid in your sunscreens and any other beautE product you are using. There are many more out there to avoid but here are ones commonly used in sunscreens:

This list of 6 ingredients are rated and researched by the Environmental Working Group which is a non-profit organization dedicated to "educating and empowering consumers to make safer and more informed decisions about the products they buy and the companies they support."

(Below are the ingredients rated on a 1-10 scale with 1 being the safest, along with the bodily concern.

Below that is my very loose translation of what all that hocus-pocus science stuff means.)


Score: 8

Concerns: Biochemical changes or cellular level changes and endocrine disruptor.

Translation: Some SUPPPERRR bad sh$%. AVOID IT. Why? Because it can absorb into your skin and cause cellular damage, mutations, and even cell death...which is as bad at it sounds. There is also evidence that it can cause hormone disruptions. Umm no thank you. I am a female and already have too many crazy hormones as is. I don't need any help in that department, so thanks but no thanks. CYA.


Score: 6

Concerns: Biochemical changes or cellular level changes and endocrine disruptor.

Translation: Again, BAD NEWS. Think of these ingredients as an unwanted house guest who overstays their welcome. You invited them in but they stuck around for wayyyy too long and made a mess of the place. Changing up your furniture and messing up the flow of the house. No one wants that. Prevent this by not inviting them in at all. Problem solved.

Retinyl Palmitate: (Vitamin A Palmitate)

Score: 9

Concerns: Biochemical or cellular level changes, Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Use restrictions.

Translation: Ok wait what?! Aren't vitamins good for you?! Well yes but not this one as you can see from the MASSIVE LIST OF CONCERNS. See this and run. This is a combination of Retinol and Palmitic acid and when combined to form Retinyl Palmitate in sunscreen it can be very damaging. We are talking SUPER DAMAGING. There is a reason this ingredient is rated a 9... According to the FDA there is strong evidence that suggests this sunscreen ingredient actually speeds up malignant skin cells and cancer. That's some scary stuff.


Score: 4

Concerns: Organ system toxicity and endocrine disruptor

Translation: Don't think a 4 is that bad? Think again. These particles may be teeny tiny but they pack a punch.


Score: 3

Concerns: Biochemical or cellular level changes and persistence and bioaccumulation

Translation: Again, not that high of a number but this is one nasty bugger. When coming into contact with UV rays, it produces some harmful byproducts that can lead to cellular damage and mutations. Not only that, but it is one of those chemicals that sticks around in the body a little too long. Super annoying.

Parabens (butyl-, methyl-, propyl-, ethyl-):

Score: 4-8

Concerns: Endocrine disruption, allergies/immunotoxicity concerns, developmental/reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity.

Translation: These Parabens may be rated differently but they have one thing in common: They suck. Ladies it is especially important for you to avoid products with this chemical in it. It is the worst of the worst with research linking it the rise of breast cancer. Seriously, avoid it like the plague.

Below are some "clean" and healthier sunscreen options:

Click to shop.