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5 Types of Sunscreen to Avoid

Peruse the skincare aisle of any retail store and you’ll find a myriad of options. You want one that protects your family from sunburn without causing unintended health issues. Which ones should you avoid? Choosing the right sunscreen can be confusing, so we created this list of types of sunscreen to avoid to help you make safe choices before you head outdoors.


1. Petrochemical Sunscreen

Petrochemicals are compounds derived from petroleum. Although they can combine to decently protect against sunburn, they are poor at protecting against skin cancer, and they all have significant side effects that contribute to a growing list of serious health issues.


2. Aerosol Spray Sunscreen

Coveted for their ease of application, aerosols pose serious inhalation risks, as many chemicals and toxins do greater harm when entering the lungs directly. The FDA has expressed doubts about their safety and effectiveness, but hasn’t banned them (yet).


3. Powder Sunscreen

Prohibited by the FDA from being sold over-the-counter, powdered sunscreens are subject to its new drug application process. Powders pose significant inhalation risks, where toxic chemicals (or otherwise relatively harmless compounds) do great harm within the lungs.


4. Sunscreen with Bug Repellent

Mixing sunscreens and pesticides causes increased skin adsorption of both pesticides and toxic chemicals within the sunscreen. The FDA is studying the safety of such combinations and is considering new labeling requirements. DEET may reduce sunscreen effectiveness. If bug repellent is a must, avoid using it on the face, since fumes can be inhaled and the chemicals can damage the eyes.


5. Sunscreen with 50+ SPFs

High SPF products, besides containing toxic chemicals described above, are MUCH better at protecting skin near the surface than deeper tissues. Hence, they encourage users to stay in the sun too long by preventing sunburn while allowing significant long term damage to occur.


In Closing

So what type of sunscreen SHOULD you use? One that’s lotion or stick based, uses non-nano zinc oxide as its sole active ingredient, and formulated with inactive ingredients you can recognize and pronounce.

Such products are completely safe, preventing sunburn AND protecting against long term issues like skin cancer and premature aging.



1. Know your ingredients — Flip over your sunscreen and read the ingredients. We want everyone to know what good ingredients are, regardless of whether they use our products or not. Your health is worth it.

2. Buy safe sunscreen — Waxhead is dedicated to using only the healthiest, safest, most effective ingredients in our sunscreens. Shop Safe Sunscreen here.

3. Teach a friend — If you know someone who might still be buying sunscreen with questionable ingredients, please share this post with him/her.



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