My grandmother spent much of Memorial weekend warning me about hidden health dangers, while ironically serving me cookie after cookie. Gram's main rant was against sunscreen containing oxybenzone. She said it was unsafe, but couldn't remember why. Can you tell me why I should avoid it and recommend sweatproof waterproof sunscreen that doesn't contain oxybenzone, and preferably won't clog my pores since I'm still somewhat prone to acne? Of course I would prefer a sunscreen that doesn't break the bank either. Thanks!
— Fair-Skinned Fun in the Sun
I bet your gram makes tasty cookies, and regarding sunscreen, she might be on to something. Learn about oxybenzone when you read more.
First off, oxybenzone is an organic chemical used in sunscreens to filter UV rays and is a penetration enhancer, helping other chemicals penetrate the skin. Last Spring the CDC released a study that 97 percent of Americans had oxybenzone in their blood. This widely used ingredient has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage. Aside from sunscreen, this chemical is used in moisturizers, lip balms, and lip sticks.
Since oxybenzone in an ingredients in well over 600 sunscreens, it can be a challenge to find ones that don't contain it. Here are a few options:
- Natural Sun SPF 25 Sunscreen for Active Lifestyles by Aubrey Organics ($8.50/4 oz.): It is a broad spectrum sunscreen and although the label doesn't say it is water- or sweatproof, it is the brand's sunscreen for water activities.
- Oat Protein Sunscreen SPF 30 by Kiss My Face ($13/4 oz.): Water-resistant and broad spectrum, this sunscreen uses the mineral titanium dioxide to block the sun's rays.
- SPF 30 Sunscreen by Vanicream ($15/4 oz): This sunscreen is non-comedogenic, meaning it won't block your pores or cause blackheads. It is a broad spectrum sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
It pays to read sunscreen labels and look for ones that use minerals to block the sun's rays, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It can be difficult to find a sunscreen that is both non-comedogenic and waterproof. It might be well worth your money to invest in a sunscreen for just your face that covers both the requirements, and use a less expensive sunblock for the rest of your body. Double up and wear a protective hat that still allows your head to breath and wicks away the seat when you're outside and active.