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Why are Petrochemicals Harmful?

The simple truth – petrochemicals weren’t meant to interact directly with humans or animals. The list of reasons is long and growing. Here are just a few of the most obvious.

Petrochemicals penetrate the skin, causing bioaccumulation and systemic exposure, building up in the blood and fat deposits. Toxic in themselves, they damage DNA over time. Many petrochemicals mimic estrogen in the human body. This is linked with numerous diseases (including cancer) and early female puberty.

Many petrochemicals do not biodegrade, accumulating in water supplies and ocean sediments, feminizing fish, and damaging coral. Most tropical aquatic parks have banned petrochemical sunscreens.

Petrochemical sunscreens exchange UV damage for toxic chemical damage. Unable to convert UV rays into harmless energy as well as mineral sunscreens, active petrochemical ingredients are actually photo-degraded by UV energy, breaking chemical bonds, disabling UV absorption capacity, and creating reactive free radicals in the body.

These free radicals are not only linked to the development of cancer, but such irreversible chemical changes can also produce severe inflammatory skin reactions – in essence, chemical burns. Petrochemicals absorb UV in diverse finite wavelength ranges. In other words, no single petrochemical is broad-spectrum, and so petrochemical sunscreens must use a cobbled amalgamation of compounds, all with various abilities to do harm.

Plus, the chemicals that prevent sunburn actually degrade those that prevent deeper tissue damage, rendering deep tissue protection relatively useless over time. So while you’re skin is NOT getting red, you tend to stay in the sun too long and take on significant damage. This is a major reason why per capita sunscreen use (of mostly petrochemical brands) has quadrupled while skin cancer rates have tripled since 1975.

Compared to environmental contaminants in our air, food, and water, sunscreen based petrochemicals produce exposure levels thousands to millions of times higher.


If petrochemicals are so bad, why is zinc oxide so good?

Zinc oxide doesn’t have any of the issues petrochemicals do. Zinc oxide (by itself) has the most effective absorption capabilities across the entire UVA/UVB spectrums.

Zinc oxide is made from the critical mineral nutrient zinc. Like all the ingredients in Waxhead skincare, zinc oxide is biochemically identical to the building blocks used by human and animal systems.

Zinc oxide holds tight to its electrons when absorbing UV energy, limiting free radical production. Non-nano inc oxide does not damage or adversely affect wildlife or water habitats or the animals that use them. It is completely reef safe. Zinc oxide is the only sunscreen active ingredient FDA-approved for use on children.


In Closing

If you only care about not getting sunburn, petrochemical brands can deliver. But if you actually want to protect your long term health and reduce your risk of skin cancer, only zinc oxide* is the answer.


* Some suggest titanium dioxide is another good option, as good as zinc oxide for sun defense. This is not quite true for two important reasons. First, titanium dioxide is composed of titanium, which is a toxic heavy metal if absorbed into the bloodstream, while zinc is a critical mineral element. Second, titanium dioxide is significantly less efficient at absorbing, converting and dispersing UV energy into harmless heat energy. In other words, it allows more such UV energy to damage the body.



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.



Petrochemicals in Sunscreen

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