Is your sunscreen helping or hurting you?
July 25, 2016
Jackie Roberge

You likely know that there are potentially hazardous chemicals in brand name personal care products and sunscreens are no exception. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your sunscreen.

In general, the mineral-based ingredients like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are good bets because they actually block or reflect the sun's rays. The main disadvantage is that they are often thick and white and don't absorb easily into the skin (which is also why the work well!)!

I went to the database called Skin Deep and did some research on a naturally postitioned drugstore brand - Aveeno. I looked at several products (for example - Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant CC Cream, Medium, SPF 30) and often the scores were 7 or 8 out of 10 in terms of toxicity. Here are the two ingredients that always scored the highest:

FRAGRANCE Score: 8/10
Allergies/immunotoxicity, Miscellaneous, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs), Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Ecotoxicology
(Active Ingredient) Enhanced skin absorption, Biochemical or cellular level changes, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Use restrictions, Endocrine disruption, Persistence and bioaccumulation, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

So I would recommend looking for mineral-based products and if you don't like the way they apply, try to at least stay away with products containing fragrances and Oxybenzone. Please remember that just because the product is expensive or marketed under a cosmetic brand, it does not guarantee good quality ingredients.

Here is some other sunscreen information from the EWG's website

They also have a Healthy Living app that allows you to scan products in-store and get an immediate toxicity score. I have not tried it yet but intend to - you can find the link on their site.

I hope this helps you find a safe and effective product this summer. To search for your brand click here:


Article originally appeared on CancerShift (
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