What is Oxybenzone in Sunscreen? Danger, Concerns & Safety

According to a recent study conducted by CNN, only 25% of sunscreen on the market right now can protect your skin from sunburn without using potentially harmful or toxic chemical skin care ingredients. This means that most of the sunscreen out there uses ingredients that might be a danger to the safety of your health, including the chemical oxybenzone. What is oxybenzone in sunscreen? Find out about the concerns regarding the use of oxybenzone in sunblock.

Sunscreen Ingredients: What is Oxybenzone? Why Is It Used?

Oxybenzone has been approved by the FDA since 1978 and is used in over half of the sunscreen available for sale today, and is also one of the common chapstick ingredients. Chances are, you currently use a sunscreen with oxybenzone. If Oxybenzone is approved by the FDA, why is it bad to use? There is a growing debate over the use of the chemical compound in the last few years. Some respectable sources say that oxybenzone is one of the only sunscreen ingredients that really works at protecting the skin from absorbing ultraviolet rays.

Oxybenzone Danger & Concerns

Oxybenzone sounds like a pretty good sunscreen ingredient, right? Don't UV rays cause skin cancer? Well, there are two sides to the oxybenzone debate. While some government groups believe that we need oxybenzone in our sunscreen to protect us from UV rays, new toxicology research is raising some concerns and revealing the possible danger of oxybenzone. Studies conducted by the Environmental Working Group have found that in some cases we can actually absorb oxybenzone through our skin. Absorbing this chemical compound through the skin introduces new danger, possibly leading to the development of hormone imbalances, cell damage and maybe even skin cancer. Wait a minute--a sunscreen ingredient used to protect us from skin cancer can actually cause skin cancer itself? Suddenly oxybenzone doesn't sound so good after all.

Sunscreen/ Oxybenzone Allergy Concerns

Not only does oxybenzone raise concerns in connection with the development of skin cancer, but some dermatologists have also noted a rise in the number of patients claiming to have a specific "sunscreen allergy." This growing sunscreen allergy may very well be an allergy to oxybenzone, an increasingly common sunscreen ingredient. According to an official 1994 medical study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 35 of 283 patients with suspected photodermatosis actually had an oxybenzone allergy, with most of these due to using a daily skin care product that contained oxybenzone. While the final verdict on the safety of oxybenzone is still up in the air, if you are concerned for the safety of your skin, you might want to try switching to sunblock without oxybenzone.

Oxybenzone vs. PABA

Like Oxybenzone, PABA was also approved by the FDA and introduced as a common sunscreen ingredient and absorber of UV rays in the 1970s. However, the number of allergic reactions and negative effects of PABA were more dramatic and easier to diagnose and trace. Kind of like MSG, bad media attention and publicity eventually caused PABA to become less popular and not very commonly used in sunblock today. The dangers of oxybenzone, however, are less easy to trace, so the safety of oxybenzone is still up for debate.

Increase Your Safety With All Natural & Biodegradable Sunscreens Without Oxybenzone

If you really want to increase your safety while out in the sun, try using a biodegradable sunscreen without oxybenzone. Dermatologists recommend opting for oxybenzone free sunscreens that offer broad spectrum protection. Don't immediately assume that the highest SPF sunblock you can find is automatically the best: research shows that you don't get that much more protection when you switch from an SPF 30 to SPF50. Not only that, but the higher the SPF, the more oxybenzone is likely included in the sunscreen.

More important than SPF, go for all natural biodegradable sunscreen that contains mostly organic ingredients, like this SPF30 waterproof and 92% organic sunscreen. If you want to buy the best all natural sunscreen for the face, opt for organic facial sunscreen in particular.

Organic, biodegradable sunscreen doesn't cost that much more than most sunblocks you buy in the store. Cut down on the risk of skin cancer and the danger of absorbing oxybenzone and increase your safety all at the same time.

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