Are there harmful ingredients in sunscreen?

How harmful is sunscreen?

How harmful is sunscreen? The filter question

The use of sunscreen has now become an inevitable question of conscience. We want to protect our skin from UV radiation, but not pollute our bodies or the environment. Chemical filters such as oxybenzone are suspected of having a hormonal effect in our bodies and of damaging our underwater world. Studies have linked the chemicals in our cosmetics to health problems such as reduced sperm quality and infertility, premature puberty in girls and certain hormone-related cancers such as breast cancer and testicular cancer.Preservatives like parabenswhich are found in our sunscreens as methyl paraben, propyl paraben, ethyl paraben and butyl paraben can affect our endocrine system. And also Microplastics we still discover in numerous sunscreens. This not only harms the environment, but has also been shown to accumulate in our body.

And what about mineral sunscreen?

If we do without chemical UV filters and rely on mineral ones, the firm consistency and the famous whitening annoys us. If the white particles are crushed to nano size, you can no longer see them lying on the skin, but nanoparticles settle in the environment and can also penetrate our bodies through the smallest injuries to the skin. So what do we have to look out for when choosing our sunscreen?

Sunscreen with microplastics

The numbers sound dramatic: A recent analysis for WWF by Dalberg and the University of Newcastle, Australia, showed that we (a person on a global average) consume up to five grams of plastic per week - that's roughly the weight of a credit card. Plastic gets into our body through our food, the air and the water. Cosmetics also contain microplastics, not just the much-cited peelings, but also sunscreen. Those who want to avoid plastic particles use certified natural cosmetics, which generally do not use microplastics. Incidentally, there are no long-term studies on the health effects of microplastics yet.

Sunscreen with oxybenzone - already banned in these countries

According to the US marine agency NOAA, up to 6,000 tons of sunscreen ends up in the seas with coral reefs every year. The chemical filters are responsible for the death of corals and fish. Some countries have already reacted: In Yucatán (Mexico), conventional sun creams have not been allowed for a long time. Hawaii and the Caribbean island of Bonaire have also passed an anti-sunscreen law, and the sale of sunscreens containing certain chemicals will be banned from 2021. Only biodegradable sun protection that works without harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone, octocrylene and parabens is allowed. Important: Also mineral sunscreens are not automatically biodegradable and protect the environment. Contain them Nanoparticles, they also harm the underwater world (they can be absorbed by corals just like chemical filters).

Health hazard from UV filters

In a research study by the Department of Clinical and Experimental Endocrinology at the University of Göttingen in Germany, hormonal disorders caused by chemical UV filters were observed. A study by the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Zurich has found that, for example, oxybenzone can also simulate the effects of estrogen in the body and promote the growth of cancer cells.

How harmful is my sunscreen?

If you are unsure what is in the sun cream, you can get help by checking the INCI list. The Codecheck app analyzes hundreds of cosmetic products for their ingredients and warns of harmful ingredients.

How do I know if my sunscreen contains oxybenzone?

A look at the INCI list of the product reveals it: Oxybenzone, Octinoxat, Benzophenone, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate: If these ingredients appear in the INCI list, we should not buy the sunscreen.

How do I know if my sunscreen contains microplastics?

Mostly listed under "Poly- ..." on the INCI list: Acrylate Copolymer (AC + ACS), Dimethiconol, Methicone, Siloxane. Codecheck or the website "Beat the Microbead" can help here too.

The only solution - mineral filters without nanoparticles?

At least sunscreens that have been certified as natural cosmetics are a good solution. If they do not contain any nanoparticles, they may whitish something. Although nanoparticles apparently cannot penetrate the skin, the BUND complains that this has not yet been clarified for damaged skin.

Even if the ghost alarm threatens, we should by no means use sunscreen too sparingly. As a rule of thumb for the amount, an adult needs 30 to 40 milliliters of cream for one complete application, which is around five to six tablespoons.

But there are now also sun creams with chemical UV filters without silicones, paraffins, PEG, dyes or fragrances, preservatives and animal extracts. It is important to find out exactly which sunscreen lands on the skin - and what the ingredients can do in the body. Sun protection is a must. But one who cannot harm us.