Facts about Sunscreen!

Several studies demonstrated that chemicals found in most sunscreens today are affecting our planet! Actually oxybenzone and octinoxate the most popular UVB chemicals found in 98% of sunscreen are bleaching and damaging the corals and disturbing the marine life.

For years, oxybenzone and octinoxate have been used to protect people’s skin from UV radiation, but some research has shown that sunscreen containing these chemicals can wash away from the skin while swimming causing major damages to coral reefs. We need to take action now!

A reality: Coral reefs provide food, medication and tourism jobs for people, which has been valued at $30 billion to $172 billion per year, according to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. We need to stop selling chemical sunscreens and so called mineral sunscreen that are full of chemicals!

Some ingredients you should not have in your sunscreens in order to protect our reefs are:

  • Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3, BP-3) – Sunscreen ingredient that disrupts coral reproduction, causes coral bleaching, and damages coral DNA. Oxybenzone is found in over 3500 sunscreen products worldwide.
  • Butylparaben – Preservative ingredient shown to cause coral bleaching.
  • Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) – Sunscreen ingredient shown to cause coral bleaching.
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC) – Sunscreen ingredient shown to cause coral bleaching. Allowed in Europe and Canada, not in USA or Japan.
  • Homosalate – Sunscreen ingredient shown to cause coral bleaching.


Generally speaking, today, we should make sure that none of our products contains ingredients that will damage our well-being, the planet or marine life such as:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor
  • Octocrylene
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
  • Methyl Paraben
  • Ethyl Paraben
  • Propyl Paraben
  • Butyl Paraben
  • Benzyl Paraben
  • Triclosan
  • Any form of microplastic sphere or beads
    And of course in your Mineral Sunscreens:
  • Nanoparticles of Titanium Dioxide

On another note some studies also demonstrated that chemical sunscreen containing Oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3, BP-3) or Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate) with high SPF used on sensitive skin or red permeable skin are absorbed by the skin and have a long-term effect and cellular damage. So as professional skin care specialists, we need to stop recommending products that contain these chemicals. Our key role is to help, improve and maintain the health of our client’s skin and not to destroy it.

Hawaii alone was exposed to over 6000 tons of chemical sunscreen every year! Can you imagine the damages that these chemicals caused over the years to all the popular beaches…?

In 2015 a study showed that oxybenzone caused serious damage to the corals with the concentration as low as the equivalent of one drop of water in 6 1/2 Olympic size swimming pool…

We have the proof that majority of chemical sunscreens damages the reefs but what about our lakes , the hearth and marine life overall…. Let’s make a change and educate our clients to STOP using these chemicals!

Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, Octocrylene are found in more than 3500 sunscreens world wide.

Understand your sunscreen labels

You should understand the ingredients being used in the products you are using and recommending and you must take note that many companies use the terms Mineral Sunscreen in their product name when in fact it is not entirely Mineral. This manipulation of information misleads consumers and aestheticians into thinking the product is safe.

Look for an organic certification such as the COSMOS ORGANIC by Ecocert Greenlife certification on the label.  As a renown impartial organization that guarantees the safety of the product, you can be reassured that it meets the highest requirements for organic certification in the cosmeceutical industry!

You can also download applications such as INCI BEAUTY that allow you to scan the label or search the name of the product to be able to analyze how clean the ingredients are in the product. I suggest you try the application for yourself to see how your products are ranked. Remember, if you are not doing your analysis and research, your clients are doing it!

Tips for the selecting of your mineral sunscreens

In order to protect against the bleaching of our coral reefs and damaging our ecosystem we certainly should opt for a Mineral Sunscreen.

What you should know is that zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the most popular mineral sunscreen available today.

The problem is the Titanium Dioxide when used in less than 35 nm in diameter is considered a nano particle and are extremely dangerous for your health, a very toxic material! You need to make sure that the manufacturer does not use nano size or nano particles. Nano particles are not yet controlled and regulated by the FDA or Health Canada for their use and can be very toxic not only for the ones that are applying it but also for the ones that are making it ( manufacturing).

Using a size larger than 150 nm is safer. Organization such as Ecocert Greenlife regulates the use of nano particles of titanium dioxide.

In another words, when you see this logo Ecocert on the product, it means that there are no nano particles

Ecocert’s mission is to promote sustainability and ensure the safety of consumers and manufactures. This is why organization like Ecocert are gaining popularity worldwide. Look for that logo on your mineral sunscreen products for your safety and the safety of your clients.

Sunscreens regulation

If you live in the USA, you need to request a drug license number for every SPF product you decide to carry. Sunscreens are regulated and are considered a drug in the United States.

In fact, FDA and Health Canada attribute product licences (individual) to companies that provided the efficacy testing against UVB and UVB and broad-spectrum UVA-UVB filters, for example they need to demonstrate that it is a true SPF 30 protection against UVB or UVB when claimed on the label.

If you live in Canada, you need to look for a NPN (Natural Product Number) provided by Health Canada. If your product does not have an NPN number, you should not resale it or offer this product to your clients since it would be considered an illegal product.

Ideal ingredients are: Zinc Oxyde and Non nano particle of Titanium Dioxide with a combination of other ingredients that can make a difference in the overall formulation like:

Vitamin C as your anti oxidants ideally in a glycoside form as a general protection against free radical and pollution.

Digital Blue light protection ingredient like Ginseng to ensure you are protected from damaging digital blue light since we are always exposed to our computer and cell phone.

Anti-Aging ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and Acmella Oleracea

Mineral sunscreen texture innovations

Today you can actually find a mineral sunscreen that is not so chunky and that doesn’t leave your skin with a white mask. Nelly De Vuyst skin care ,EuropeLab Laboratory and Druide BioLove came out this year with a new innovative translucent SPF 30 MINERAL that are all Organic Certified by EcoCert Greenlife. Unique and with a light texture, it does not leave a film on the skin like most mineral sunscreen.

Chemical EWG hazard score Use in U.S. sunscreens FDA 2019 proposed status Skin penetration Hormone disruption Skin allergy Other concerns References
UV filters with higher toxicity concerns
Oxybenzone 8 Widespread Insufficient data and concern for absorption through skin and hormone disruption Detected in nearly every American; found in mothers’ milk; 1% to 9% skin penetration in lab studies Weak estrogen, moderate anti-androgen; associated with altered birth weight in human studies Relatively high rates of skin allergy N/A Janjua 2004, Janjua 2008, Sarveiya 2004, Gonzalez 2006, Rodriguez 2006, Krause 2012, Ghazipura 2017
(Octyl methoxycinnamate)
6 Widespread Insufficient data to determine safety – significant data gaps Found in mothers’ milk; less than 1% skin penetration in human and laboratory studies Hormone-like activity; reproductive system, thyroid and behavioral alterations in animal studies Moderate rates of skin allergy N/A Krause 2012, Sarveiya 2004, Rodriguez 2006, Klinubol 2008
UV filters with moderate toxicity concerns
Homosalate 4 Widespread Insufficient data to determine safety – significant data gaps Found in mothers’ milk; skin penetration less than 1% in human and laboratory studies Disrupts estrogen, androgen and progesterone N/A Toxic breakdown products Krause 2012, Sarveiya 2004, SCCNFP 2006
Octisalate 4 Widespread; stabilizes avobenzone Insufficient data to determine safety – significant data gaps Skin penetration in lab studies N/A Rarely reported skin allergy N/A Walters 1997, Shaw 2006, Singh 2007
Octocrylene 3 Widespread Insufficient data to determine safety – significant data gaps Found in mothers’ milk; skin penetration in lab studies N/A Relatively high rates of skin allergy N/A Krause 2012, Bryden 2006, Hayden 2005
UV filters with lower toxicity concerns
2 (topical use), 6 (powder or spray) Widespread Generally recognized as safe and effective No finding of skin penetration No evidence of hormone disruption None Inhalation concerns Gamer 2006, Nohynek 2007, Wu 2009, Sadrieh 2010, Takeda 2009, Shimizu 2009, Park 2009, IARC 2006b
Zinc oxide 2 (topical use), 4 (powder or spray) Widespread; excellent UVA protection Generally recognized as safe and effective Less than 0.01% skin penetration in human volunteers No evidence of hormone disruption None Inhalation concerns Gulson 2012, Sayes 2007, Nohynek 2007, SCCS 2012
Avobenzone 2 Widespread; best UVA protection of chemical filters Insufficient data Very limited skin penetration No evidence of hormone disruption Breakdown product causes relatively high rates of skin allergy Unstable in sunshine, must be mixed with stabilizers Klinubol 2008, Bryden 2006, Hayden 2005, Montenegro 2008, Nash 2014
Mexoryl SX 2 Uncommon; pending FDA approval; offers good, stable UVA protection Insufficient data Less than 0.16% skin penetration in human volunteers No evidence of hormone disruption Skin allergy is rare N/A Benech-Kieffer 2003, Fourtanier 2008
Eight other ingredients approved in the U.S. are used rarely in sunscreens: dioxybenzone (benzophenone-8), cinoxate, ensulizole, meradimate (menthyl anthranilate), PABA, Padimate O, sulisobenzone (benzophenone-4) and trolamine salicylate. In 2019, FDA proposed that trolamine salicylate and PABA were unsafe for use and there was insufficient safety test data about other five.