KISS is an acronym for ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’. It was originally developed by the US Navy in the 1960 so to avoid unnecessary complexity in hope of increased success of any given system. Basically the ‘Less is More’ priniciple.
This methodology makes great sense to me when trying to explain the complex world of sunscreens and their chemicals. I am asked almost daily by people about what to avoid in sunscreens? And why? And what best is to use? And for kids?
Here goes: What to Avoid In Sunscreens K-I-S-S Style…
OXYBENZONE. Take note of that word and know that experts are now linking its use to endocrine disruption, photoallergic reactions, persistence and bioaccumulation. This means not only can it pollute YOU but once in the environment it doesn’t break down potentially wreaking havoc on marine life. No two ways around it but to AVOID IT.
The Environmental Working Group notes these sunscreens use oxybenzone:
- LaRoche-Posay Anthelios 60 Face UltraLight Sunscreen SPF 60
- Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30
- Aveeno Active Naturals protect + Hydrate Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30
RETINYL PALMITATE. This skin-conditoning agent has been found by the FDA to produce free-radicals that can damage DNA and cause gene mutations when exposed to UV light. So why is it used in sunscreens and especially those for kids??? Well clearly Canadian authorities are onto it as in the last few days it has been reported that Health Canada is looking at putting warning labels on sunscreens that contain retinyl palmitate. Bottom line: avoid, avoid, avoid the brands that still use it in sunscreens.
And EWG reports these sunscreens use retinyl palmitate:
- Banana Boat Baby Tear Free Sunblock Lotion, SPF 50
- Arbonne Baby Care Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Almay Line Smoothing Liquid Makeup for Dry Skin SPF 15
SPRAY SUNSCREENS. Not only do they pose an inhalation hazard BUT the propellant used is often a form of butane, a fuel used in cigarette lighters. Remember last summer, people caught fire after using Banana Boat Spray Sunscreen? If you find yourself saying, ‘but it is so easy to spray vs. rub’…give your head a shake…really is the risk worth it?
What To Use: Zinc and titanium dioxide or a mix of are the two mineral-based sunscreen ingredients that Health Canada recognizes as ‘natural products’ when it comes to sunscreens. The only issue with zinc or titanium is if they are ground too find such that the particles can go into the skin. Look for ‘No Nanotechnology‘ or ‘No Nanoparticles‘.
Caveat: ALWAYS READ LABELS. It’s a good habit to get into. When in doubt research your ingredients on-line. And don’t assume a brand or product name with a natural or healthy-sounding name is better for you. Read and research always!
Happy and safe sunning everyone!