Can a sunscreen really affect your hormones? What you thought was a good effort on your part to save yourself from skin cancer might just be what can actually cause skin cancer in the future and make your hormones go haywire.
You pick up a bottle of sunscreen and either spray it on or slather it on to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. You feel good and protected and ready to face a day of fun in the sun. What you might not realize is that what you put on your skin can actually be detrimental to your fertility and general health overall.
There are two types of sunscreens: Chemical vs. Physical. Chemical sunscreens contain chemicals such as Avobenzone, Homosalate, Oxybenzone, Padamate O, Octocrylene, etc. which are absorbed into the skin, acting like a sponge, and converting the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB radiation into a less damaging form. What the manufacturers don’t mention is that, once you spray on a chemical sunscreen, it can then be absorbed into your bloodstream and actually remain there. So much so, that studies have shown that up to 97% of participants had Oxybenzone in their bloodstream. In other studies, remnants of these chemicals have been found in urine samples given by participants in the study. These same chemicals then act as hormone disruptors and can wreak havoc on your delicate endocrine system. When these chemicals are absorbed, they can cause fluctuations in your menstrual cycle, affect the quality of your eggs, and ultimately lead you to suffering from Infertility.
Additionally, what is supposed to help you fight skin cancer can actually cause cancer in the future due to free radicals being created as a result of these radiation transformations occurring on your skin. Manufacturers claim that the free radicals can be destroyed by using the right chemical combinations in their own products but the jury is still out on that theory. Perhaps it’s better to avoid it all together by using a physical sunscreen instead. A physical sunscreen (or Sunblock as it was known previously) acts like a barrier and actively blocks the sun’s rays from penetrating your skin. The most common components to do this are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide. The newer versions are a far superior choice from the “sunblocks” of yesteryear and are light, sheer and, best of all, protect your skin wonderfully. How do they do this without making you look like you have a mask on? By creating new formulations that break down Zinc and Titanium Oxide into smaller particles able to blend easier on skin and greatly lessen that “whitish” appearance we all hate.
The Difference between Nano and Micronized Particles in Sunscreen
Are these particles any safer? Well, many reports have come out stating that micronized/nano particles of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide have the ability to pass through the skin more easily which is what gives them the easier blending ability. Additionally, because of this there have sprung up concerns that once these particles are absorbed into the skin, the same photo reactivity can occur, creating dangerous cancer-causing and cell damaging free radicals (just like in a chemical sunscreen). The solution that some manufacturers have created is by “coating” these particles to prevent this free radical formation. So what do I look for?
The safest natural sunscreens I’ve found are the ones with Micronized Zinc Oxide or Titanium Oxide and to instead avoid the ones that use Nano particles. The actual size of the particles matters (should be larger than 100 nm) which makes them less able to actually penetrate the skin and be absorbed. It’s really a complicated explanation and the best one I’ve found thus far has been on the Badger website. Read it to better understand the science behind it.
Which ones do I choose? There are so many options out there and we’ve narrowed down our list to include the Top ones on the market today based upon active ingredients, fertility-safety, overall usability, and effectiveness.
For more information, read our Product Reviews section for details on my personal experiences with the products and visit our Shop to purchase.