Sunblock Ingredients
- Fuel on Your Face?

This guest article on sunblock ingredients and their potential dangers is by Laurie from Hydrolyze

The inside smear on sunblock ingredients!

As a mother and thus a caretaker, sunblock has become a staple in my home. I not only smear the sunblock on both my kids, but on everyone in my family for that matter. In fact, it's become a joke within my family and many of my relatives refer to me as the "sunblock queen." However, while I was busy playing the part of "sunblock queen" I missed some vital information pertaining to the ingredients inside this so-called protective product.

After doing some much needed research on the most widely used ingredients inside sunscreen I noted that only one out of ten commercial sunscreens are deemed safe and only three out of five sunscreens fully protect your skin, as discovered by the Environmental Working Group. What's more, sunblock users are likely to encounter carcinogens in traditional sunscreen products. Therefore, I made a list of some of the most widely used toxic ingredients found in sunblock so I know what to stay away from.

  • Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3): This toxic carcinogen found in sunscreen is associated with photoallergic reactions. The skin absorbs this chemical in significant results and therefore it contaminates the bodies of 97 percent of Americans, as according to the Center for Disease Control.
  • Ensulizole (Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid): This chemical is widely known to produce free radicals, which leads to damage of DNA. This ingredient has the potential to cause cancer.
  • Menthyl Anthranilate: This chemical found inside sunscreen is prohibited for product use within Europe and Japan but is still in use within the United States. Likewise, it has the ability to produce damaging reactive oxygen species when it's exposed to sunlight.
  • Padimate O (Octyl Dimethyl Paba/ Paba Ester): This chemical has shown the ability to release free radicals and in turn causes DNA damage, estrogenic activity and allergic reactions.
  • Zinc Oxide (Non-Nano): Zinc is one of the most popular ingredients in not only sunscreens but a variety of skincare products. No adverse health effects of zinc have been reported, however this chemical has proven toxic to the environment and to humans when inhaled.
  • Nano Titanium Dioxide: This chemical ingredient is not known to cause health risks when utilized in a lotion form, however when found in sprays and/or powders there should be concern for toxicity.
  • Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate): This is the most widely used sunscreen ingredient out there but that doesn't mean it's safe. This chemical caused estrogenic effects, damaged the thyroid hormone and resulted in brain signaling in laboratory animals.

In addition to the list above, scan your list of sunscreen ingredients for Benzophenone-2 and Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, as they have been outlawed for use in the United States, yet have been found in some sunscreens.

Instead of taking any chances, I've found it's just easier to use chemical-free and natural sunscreen. Yes, it's hard to believe that such a nationally dubbed protective product can house such harmful ingredients and that's why most of us don't give a second glance at the ingredients list behind commonly used sunscreens. However, it's more important than ever to keep your eyes peeled for the above ingredients and to make the safe switch to natural and chemical-free sunscreen.


Laurie Mitchell is an authority on cosmetic industry topics and on the effects of aging on the skin. Laurie writes about Hydrolyze, a leading brand in the anti-aging industry. Additional information about anti-aging products can be found at

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