- Avobenzone- this chemical absorbs UV rays over the wide wavelength and then converts them to heat. Some studies have demonstrated it to be absorbed by the body and secreted into urine, and is therefore not recommended to use on children or pregnant women. Some skin specialists believe it to be very harmful and contend that it behaves similarly to the hormone estrogen, however the SCCNFP has negated this claim.
- Homosalate- According to the EWG it is a weak hormone disrupter. The European Union's Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCNFP) report says it was shown that sunscreen containing 12% homosalate led to eye irritation. The chemical is limited to 10% in Europe.
- Octicylene- this chemical can penetrate the skin and make it photosensitive resulting in an increased production of free radicals. Free radicals cause indirect DNA damage and potentially contribute to increased incidence of malignant melanoma in sunscreen-users vs. non-users.
- Oxybenzone - this is a hormone disrupting chemical which penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream. It is the most popular ingredient in chemical based sunscreens and only blocks UVB ray (sun’s good rays that provide vitamin D production), not UVA which are the most free radical damaging rays. Avoid any sunscreen that has this chemical at all costs, especially for children.
- Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide- your very best sun protection. These are mineral based, do not penetrate the skin and provide UVA protection against the sun's most damaging rays.
- Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate) – A 2009 study by U.S. government scientists released by the National Toxicology Program found when this is applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight, it may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions.
- Sprays or Powders – Generally speaking, sprays and powders have additional chemicals added to them for performance purposes. These additional chemicals are usually not something you want to be spraying on your body and can be toxic to the lungs. Besides, remember sunscreen is formulated for your skin, not your lungs. Many of the side effects of sprays and powders on the lungs are not tested before being approved.
I am so glad I made this simple switch for my kids and it really didn't end up costing any more than I was already spending. I feel much better knowing that they are getting sun protection without the chemicals.