After TD got diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in January 2019, there have been a lot of changes in our life. Until Cancer hits someone close to you, there are so many things you don’t know. The photos of our family below is from our very last beach vacation before TD was diagnosed with Bone Cancer. Exactly a year ago he could no longer walk after his biopsy so we are celebrating his clear scans and his ability to walk with a short beach trip to Bataan. Of course being a mama I had to figure out what sunscreen is the safest.
One of the big impacts of cancer in our lives is we are now more aware and try to educate ourselves to the causes of cancer.
- From the food that we eat
- The products that we put in and on our bodies
- The vitamins that can help us fight cancer
- The different sources of radiation around us
One of the things that I found out even when we were still in Berlin is that some active ingredients in sunscreen could cause cancer. It’s crazy to think that avobenzone is one of the most common active ingredients in sunscreen, yet a study found when that when it comes into contact with sun and chlorine, it can become toxic. Yikes. Sunscreens using Mineral Sunscreens like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide and perhaps Mexoryl SX are relatively safer alternatives.
Sunscreen is a unique body care product: consumers are directed to apply a thick coat over large areas of the body and reapply frequently. Thus, ingredients in sunscreen should not be irritating or cause skin allergies, and should be able to withstand powerful UV radiation without losing their effectiveness or forming potentially harmful breakdown products. People can potentially inhale ingredients in sunscreen sprays and ingest some of the ingredients they apply to their lips, so ingredients must not be harmful to lungs or internal organs. Further, sunscreens commonly include ingredients that act as “penetration enhancers” and help the product adhere to skin. As a result, many sunscreen chemicals are absorbed into the body and can be measured in blood, breast milk and urine samples.EWG: The Trouble With Ingredients In Sunscreen
WHAT INGREDIENTS I WILL WATCH OUT FOR
Based on this article by the EWG and other articles I have read, I will be watching out for the ingredients below and trying to avoid them when choosing sunscreens and other beauty products. I highly recommend that you do your own research to determine what you would consider safe for your family, especially your kids who put their hands in their mouths. Remember that most of the stuff we place on our skin are absorbed by our body.
The items below have varying degrees of toxicity, hormone disruption or risk for allergy, so it’s really better if you read the EWG article to see the details.
This is just my personal list, but for example my BIODERMA Photoderm Max sunscreen right now has Octocrylene, but though it penetrates our skin and is found in mother’s milk, I am not breastfeeding, and it is rated as a 3 (10 being the highest hazard score) with relatively high rates of skin allergy, but I am not reacting to it, so I am content with my choice. But I plan to try out these mineral sunscreens that are reef safe: AMARA or RAW LOVE.
Anything with “paraben” methylparaben, isopropylparaben, pentylparaben, isobutylparaben, phenylparaben, and benzylparaben
On a product label, the ingredients are listed in order of predominance, with the ingredients used in the greatest amount first, followed in descending order by those in smaller amounts.FDA
I would also avoid products with Butane and Propane, just because it is harmful to inhale and even if we tell ourselves, even our children not to inhale, I doubt we can avoid inhaling when we are spraying these products on our skin. I’ve seen it in the aerosol products of Bench and several sunblocks sold in PCX.
I would trust cosmetic and beauty items made in Europe more than American companies because, cosmetics in the USA is not regulated by their FDA. The policing body is supposed to be the Cosmetics Ingredient Review expert panel, but it is funded by the cosmetics-industry itself reeking of self-service and self-interest. How is this even legal right? The CIR’s recommendations are not legally binding on any company and they have only declared 12 ingredients or chemical groups to be unsafe. Basically in the USA consumers assume that products on shelves are safe and have been tested, when in reality, the consumers are the test subjects.
IS YOUR SUNSCREEN REEF SAFE?
So what makes sunscreen so deadly to coral reefs? A few years ago, after testing more than 50 sunscreen brands, Dr. Downs and his team started looking at specific chemicals and discovered that oxybenzone and octinoxate are the main culprits. The reason they are so widely used in sunscreen is that they absorb the harmful UV rays. Oxybenzone, for example, is toxic in four different ways: it causes damage to the DNA that may lead to cancer and developmental abnormalities, it is an endocrine disruptor, it causes deformations in juvenile corals, and, lastly, it leads to bleaching.Reef Safe Sunscreen, TRAVEL & LIVING
So if you want sunscreen that is Reef Safe to use when you go swimming in the ocean, these are what you should look for:
- non-nano zinc oxide
- non-nano titanium dioxide
- A really safe and tested SPF 30 is better or super high SPF because higher SPF means it contains a higher percentage of chemicals.
More related reads below. Again please do your own research and make or print a list of things to watch out when you are shopping for products for your own family.
For my family, I plan on using more clothing and hats with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) when we are out in the beach, to lessen the amount of sunscreen we need to use to the face, neck, hands and feet
I would also like to use mineral sunscreens that are reef safe so that my child and his children after him can enjoy the ocean for a longer period of time. Apparently even a plain ol’ t-shirt gives protection from the sun.
Will update you if I find a brand that has a good consistency, is comfortable to wear, not too greasy or white.
* may contain amazon affiliate links, but all opinions are my own