Your Sunscreen Is Probably Making You Sick. Switch To These.

The best non-toxic sunscreens, and why you should probably throw yours in the trash.


Face it! You really can’t avoid the sun. Summer, winter, cloudy or not, you’re getting exposed. What better way to protect yourself than with a good sunscreen — right??

Well, maybe not.

Your Sunscreen Is Probably Making You Sick. Switch To These.

Spread the word! That sunscreen you’ve been using? It may actually give you cancer!

Dangerous Sunscreens

We all know that the sun is dangerous (after all – it causes the #1 most deadly cancer, and it’s responsible for about 80% of our premature aging), but did you know that most sunscreens are also dangerous? The Environmental Working Group did a study on sunscreens and found most to be either very ineffective or loaded with carcinogens (yes, that means that your actual sunscreen could cause you cancer!) Even titanium dioxide, which was previously thought to be safe, has recently been proven to cause cancer, especially when used in sprays or in nanoparticles. In fact, with nanoparticle technology becoming super common in sunscreens, these carcinogens can easily get into your bloodstream and wreak havoc on your cells. And that doesn’t even take into account all the other nasty chemicals found in these products!

Now that you know, I’m sure you can see why it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re wearing a non-toxic, non-nano sunscreen.

Your Sunscreen Is Probably Making You Sick. Switch To These.

Fortunately, it’s simple to remember what’s safe; the only ingredient that is truly nontoxic and works as a sunscreen is non-nano zinc oxide. It’s a mineral that’s relatively expensive as an ingredient and looks white until you rub it in, which is why many companies don’t use it, or only use it in low quantities mixed with chemical sunscreens that are cheaper or quickly absorb into your skin (and bloodstream!) While chemical sunscreens are cheap to produce and easy to apply, the problem lies in that they aren’t effective against the type of rays that cause aging and cancer, and they are often carcinogenic to boot. Oh yeah, last-but-not-least, they’re also quickly killing the coral reef, which is home to 25% of underwater diversity.

If you want to learn more about all this, I found a great study done by the World Health Organization that’s packed with interesting info. Here’s a poignant quote: “A suntan may be cosmetically desirable, but in fact it is nothing but a sign that your skin has been damaged and has attempted to protect itself.”

Next up — Which sunscreens to buy, my better-than-sunscreen beauty trick, and something it’s crucial to understand:

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Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 161 Comments

  1. Avatar of Frederica Pellman

    Frederica Pellman

    Maybe we need to go back to the days when having unblemished white skin was considered a real beauty asset for Caucasian women. Having a tan meant you were poor and had to work in the fields. Now we see a tan as sexy and healthy, which it clearly is not. Skin cancer isn’t sexy or healthy, and as you get older you won’t be going to your dermatologist for fillers and Botox, you will be going so he/she can burn off the cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions that mar your lovely face. In 60’s London it was fashionable to have the “pale and interesting” look. let’s bring it back!!!

  2. Avatar of Arlene Davis

    Arlene Davis

    This is why I’m never fond of using chemical made products. Even if it’s quite expensive, I’d still rather use organic products. It’s better to be safe than sorry

  3. Avatar of Andrea Jones

    Andrea Jones

    Does it necessarily have to re-apply the sunscreen every 30 minutes? Even if you’re inside of the office or at the house, you have to re-apply? Such a hassle

  4. Avatar of Carmen Griffin

    Carmen Griffin

    Whenever I go out, I easily got red skin and face! I didn’t mind that at first. But after reading this, I got conscious about it and thought twice about what I’m doing with my skin.

  5. Avatar of Henriett Bond

    Henriett Bond

    As a single Dad, I read articles like this so that I know what my daughter needs and how I can take care of her better.

  6. Avatar of Zoe Martin

    Zoe Martin

    Woah. Sunscreens are that harmful?! I guess I better switch to organic products now that you made me aware that chemical-based products are so bad for my health and the coral reefs! 🙁

  7. Avatar of Isabela Quagliato

    It’s a hassle to always re-applying sunscreen. Just always bring an umbrella with you

  8. Avatar of Artur Piterson

    Artur Piterson

    I don’t use sunscreen. I’d rather use my cap. I don’t want to have any silly stuff on me

    • Avatar of Cristina Joseff

      Cristina Joseff

      If it’s good for your health, there’s no harm in trying right?

  9. Avatar of Della Martin

    Della Martin

    I guess I should choose organic sunscreens over chemical-made products. And when if I need to buy chemical-made products, I should be careful with the ingredients and made a research about it first.

  10. Avatar of Rosalia Russell

    Rosalia Russell

    Please, do more post like this one, about skin care products. I always follow your tips, and I’ve proven them all 😀

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