Nature Offers an Alternative to the Danger of Many Sunscreens

Ashley Priest
3 min readJun 19, 2021
Photo Credit: unsplash.com/@museumsvictoria

If you’ve ever used sunscreen, chances are you have been exposed to the hazards of a chemical known as oxybenzone. This compound is found in many of the SPF products that you find on the market in common department stores and drug stores today. So, what is oxybenzone, what is it utilized for, and what are the risks of exposure? We will look at the answers to these questions as well as products that offer an environmentally friendly alternative while also offering substantial SPF protection!

What Is Oxybenzone and Why Is It In Sunscreen?

Oxybenzone, also known as benzophenone-3, is an organic compound that provides UV protection in commercial chemical sunscreens. Additionally, it is also commonly used in cosmetics as a photo stabilizer, within fragrances, nail polishes, and hairsprays for various reasons.

Within sunscreen, its primary purpose is to absorb UV light. According to statistics by the Environmental Working Group, commonly known as the EWG, this compound is found in more than 80% of sunscreens on the market. Research has shown that while oxybenzone offers UV protection it is also absorbed by our skin and retained there for an unknown amount of time. This is cause for concern seeing how there are some major risks involved with exposure to oxybenzone.

What are the Risks of Oxybenzone Exposure?

Being rated an 8 on the EWG toxicity scale, it makes oxybenzone one of the most toxic ingredients commonly used in cosmetic products. This compound has been linked to hormone disruption and also has the potential to cause skin cancer through the damaging of cells. Oxybenzone is an endocrine-disrupting chemical and can pose major risks to reproductive systems as well as cause endometriosis. This chemical has also been shown to increase the risk of hormone-related cancers in both women and men as well as linked to male infertility and low sperm count.

This compound has also been increasingly tied to promoting early puberty in young girls. Oxybenzone is also known as one of the biggest triggers of allergic skin reaction and was accordingly named the “Allergen of the Year” in 2014 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society. The risks of…

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