Avoid Zinc Oxide in Sunscreens

Scent Free Sun Lotion Spf25

Time to check your sunscreens in preparation for Summer (if we ever get any…)!

I have always recommended non toxic sunscreens as I think most of the problem comes from the toxic chemicals the vast majority of them contain, not from the sun. So, I was interested to see this report on zinc oxide in sunscreens possibly causing skin cancer rather than protecting you from it.

Far from protecting you from skin cancer, many popular sunscreen products directly cause it. Zinc oxide in the sunscreen reacts to direct sunlight, damaging cells and increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Ultraviolet light from the sun starts a chemical reaction in the zinc oxide that releases free radicals – unstable molecules – that interfere with the DNA in cells. This, in turn, makes them more vulnerable to skin cancer and other diseases.

Researchers from Missouri University of Science and Technology estimate that the zinc oxide begins to react within an hour of being exposed to the sun.  In one laboratory test, half the cells in a zinc oxide solution had died after three hours’ exposure to UV light, and 90 per cent had died after 12 hours.

However, say the researchers, it’s still better to wear sunscreen than to go out into the sun without protection – or, perhaps, buy a sunscreen that doesn’t contain zinc oxide.

(Source: Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2012; via WDDTY enews)

I normally recommend the non-toxic ranges from Green People, Annemarie Borlind and Lavera. BUT, on checking, I note that some of those in the suncare ranges of Borlind and Lavera contain zinc oxide, so I would be interested to see those companies’ comments on this new report!

Happily, Green People’s are zinc oxide free. You can see the whole range of no scent suncare from Green People here. I have used this for years and find it the best range anyway so thank goodness for that!

I am sure there will be statements against this from natural companies who have chosen zinc oxide specifically for it’s sunscreen capabilities and the researchers themselves advise caution as further research is needed since their conclusions cannot say whether zinc oxide is safe or not.

But, until we are sure, it might be a good idea to stick to Green People or other non zinc oxide ones. I will let you know the counter-arguments if I see any!

8 Replies to “Avoid Zinc Oxide in Sunscreens”

  1. I find I can have a problem with fake tan – obviously gets in to the blood stream because after using it the next day I find I have flu symptoms, chills from the inside, muscle pain and joint pain, headache but worst of all diarrohea. Not sure what it is that’s in the fake tans but I’ve tried a few and have same problems. At the moment I’m having to use a steroid cream “trimovate” I think it is for a very unusual problem in the vaginal area – I swear that after more than two days of consectutive use that gets into my blood stream because the next day my tummy is more bloated (than normal) – there has to be a connection. I hate to think what i’d be like if I ever went and had a full body St. Tropez spray tan!

      1. I’ll check them out – thanks for that – even Dove does the same – it’s got a bit of a self tan in it but not know originally used it for moisture cream and boy was I ill the next day.

  2. Drat! The lovely Neal’s Yard sunscreen has zinc oxide in it. That’s what I’ve used for the last few years. Better find a link for Green People again.

  3. I have been using zinc oxide sunscreen for the past year and avoiding the sun like the plague and my skin keeps getting worse each day! It has gotten so terribly dry and with hyperpigmentation that I didn’t have before, but I stuck with it because it’s supposed to be the best… I have been suspecting for a while that the cause is the zinc oxide… Going to stop immediately. Do you know if I can get Green People in the USA??

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