by Colleen Russell
Graphics by Kerrie Bross
We recently published an article about the dangerous changes in sunscreen formulations and the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens. The response to this information was phenomenal, and we found that our customers, readers, and even our staff were still confused about whether or not sunscreen was helpful or harmful.
Today, a show aired entitled, “Is Sunscreen Dangerous?” In this episode, the doctor warned his viewers that many chemical suncreens contain ingredients that can cause cancer, alter endocrine function, and disrupt hormones. Two medical experts made appearances, each with a different message about the importance of sunscreen.
Dr. Arthur Perry stated that many common ingredients in chemical sunscreens are known carcinogens and endocrine disrupters. But, according to Dr. Perry, “There are safe alternatives to chemical sunscreens…There is no reason that we should be putting endocrine disrupters on our skin.”
Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, a representative of the American Academy of Dermatology, disagreed that there was a definite correlation between sunscreen and cancer risk. She warned that sunscreen is the best defense we have against skin cancer and should be used in whatever form is available.
So, what is recommended? According to some doctors, sunscreen containing Zinc Oxide, described as “physical sunscreen,” is the safest, most effective sunblock to protect your skin from the sun this summer. Doctors also recommend physical sunscreen with Zinc Oxide as the active ingredient. Since the thick Zinc Oxide paste can create a white film on the skin, try a micronized Zinc Oxide sun block like Thinksport which has the benefit of rubbing in clear. A Zinc Oxide sunblock with nanoparticles, however, carries potential health risks.
Using sunblock is vitally important to maintaining skin health and preventing skin cancer. Choosing the right physical sunblock, though, is just as important to preventing secondary disease that could result from chemical sunscreen use. According to some doctors, when it comes to sunblock, just “Think white, you’ll get it right,” and choose Zinc Oxide for sun protection. Doctors also suggest checking the EWG 2013 Sunscreen Guide for for recommendations on specific brands of sunblock. Thinksport and Thinksport Kids, were all rated #1 on the 2012 EWG Sunscreen Guide.
There are so many myths, misconceptions, and advertising falsities circulating about sunscreen that even the FDA is having a hard time defining acceptable marketing techniques. There is a clear difference between the safety of chemical and physical sunscreens, and it’s more important than ever to read labels before slathering it on your skin. What’s in your sunscreen?