Is sunscreen bad for you?
Like many things, some sunscreens are good for you and some sunscreens are bad good for you. As you’ve probably read or seen in the news, a few people say all sunscreens are good for you because they prevent skin cancer. And then there are people on other end of the spectrum that claim you don’t need any sunscreen at all because sunscreen is dangerous.
The truth is, if you’re planning to spend more than 10-30 minutes in the sunshine, you should use safe sunscreen.
No Sunscreen Blocks 100%
First, there is no perfect sunscreen that blocks all UV rays. No matter what you use, if you're in the sun, your skin will receive some level of UV energy.
That said, Waxhead takes pride in our exceptional combination of knowledge AND appreciation for both how to formulate sunscreen that will most effectively lessen risk of sunburn AND longer term skin damage, and just as importantly, how human biochemistries relate to the effects of UV energy on the skin.
Sunburn + Deeper Tissue Damage
Big skincare brands have considerable knowledge of how to combine synthetic chemicals so that they defend against sunburn, but they lack a true appreciation (or even a good faith knowledge) of how those chemicals affect the body, and for how those chemicals ultimately fail in preventing deep tissue damage.
Broad spectrum sunscreens contain minerals and/or chemicals that screen both UVB rays (those affecting skin surface) and UVA rays (those affecting deeper skin tissues). However, those UVA defending ingredients in chemical sunscreens degrade quickly and do a much poorer job than their UVB-defending partners.
The effect is that people stay in the sun much too long, without covering up or seeking shade, do NOT have their skin get red while receiving significant deep tissue damage. This damage shows up for most in the 50s and 60s at the dermatologist, as various types of skin cancer or precancer.
Chemical Sunscreen Ingredients can Enter your Bloodstream
Recent news announcing sunscreen ingredients can soak into your bloodstream has obviously caused concern to Americans.
In the Spring of 2019, the FDA announced mineral sunscreen ingredients, specifically zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are safe, but another 12 ingredients commonly used in chemical sunscreens, including oxybenzone and octinoxate, need more research to determine if they can be officially listed as safe.
Non-nano Zinc Oxide
Non-nano Zinc Oxide does not pass through the outer layer of skin and thus cannot enter the bloodstream. Zinc Oxide sunscreen sits on top of the skin. Unfortunately most dermatologists, do not differentiate between proper zinc oxide products and petrochemical products. Amazingly, most do not even understand how zinc oxide works: they'll say, like most lay people, that zinc oxide is a sun "block" meaning it REFLECTS UV rays.
This is actually not so. It's true that zinc oxide reflects VISIBLE light (that's why it looks white on the skin), but it actually ABSORBS rays within the UV portion of the light spectrum, then CONVERTS those rays to infrared heat, which is radiated harmlessly away from the skin and body./p>
Know your Sunscreen Ingredients
In contrast to big companies, many small sunscreen companies have a great appreciation for healthy living and healthy ingredients. What the small guys lack is a formal education of human biochemistry; i.e. they're well-meaning amateurs.
This manifests itself in the serious shortcomings of their sunscreen formulations, which many times include ingredients, such as vitamin A (a HUGE no-no on skin while it's in the sun, since it encourages cell division, normally a good thing, while cells are actively DNA damaged) or ill advised anti-inflammatory ingredients, which can lead to significant damage to deeper skin layers.
Unlike such companies, Waxhead has exceptional levels of formal education related to human biochemistry and how UV energy is combated effectively, both in the short term and long term.
Please Wear Sunscreen
We recommend a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30-35, and if you're considering something higher, make sure it doesn't have one or more of the above issues. Better yet, send us a link, and we'll be more than happy to review its ingredients in detail and give you our honest evaluation. It may be that someone's developed an honest-to-goodness validly safe high SPF product, and we are absolutely interested in learning about that!
Also, look for the words “Broad Spectrum” — this helps make sure you’re protecting yourself from UVA rays (as well as UVB rays). Make sure it contains NO petrochemicals, and that it either uses only non-nano zinc oxide as an active ingredient (at least 20%, but 25% is best) and that if it contains no more than 5% titanium dioxide. Always read the active and non-active ingredient list to make sure you’re not putting harmful chemicals on your skin.
And please remember your hat, sunglasses and long sleeve shirt — for those especially long days on the boat or at the beach.
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.