In addition to poor protection from UVA rays, chemical sunscreen active ingredients, particularly oxybenzone and octinoxate have been linked to hormone disruption. The equally bad news is that these chemical ingredients easily work their way into the body. The CDC reports that close to 97 percent of Americans have oxybenzone in their bodies; another study found that 85 percent of nursing mothers in the European Union have at least one UV filter in their breast milk.
Oxybenzone and octinoxate are destroying the oceans around the world, according to scientists whose research has shown that the chemicals break down coral by leaching it of nutrients and disrupt the development of fish and marine life, like sea urchins and algae. Coral reject symbiotic organisms and lose their color.
Bleaching has been particularly prevalent in recent years due to rising sea temperatures. Currently, somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 tons of sunscreen enters coral reef areas around the world each year, according to the U.S. National Park Service. That's a lot of sun screen considering how little it takes to cause toxic effects.
According to the new research, toxicity occurs at a concentration of 62 parts per trillion. That's the equivalent of a drop of water in an Olympic swimming pool, according to study author Omri Bronstein, a researcher at Tel Aviv University. "Current concentrations of oxybenzone in these coral reef areas pose a significant ecological threat," Bronstein said in a press release.
Personal care products are manufactured with 10,500 unique chemical ingredients, some of which are known or suspected carcinogens, toxic to the reproductive system or known to disrupt the endocrine system. Though some companies make products that are safe to eat, others choose to use dangerous ingredients like coal tar and formaldehyde, both human carcinogens, and lead acetate, a developmental toxin.
No premarket safety testing is required for the industrial chemicals that go into personal care products or the chemical industry as a whole. According to the Office of Cosmetics and Colors at the federal Food and Drug Administration, “…a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.” (FDA 2012) The FDA does no systematic reviews of safety, instead authorizing the cosmetics industry to self-police ingredient safety through its Cosmetics Ingredient Review panel. Over its 36 years, this industry panel has rejected only 11 ingredients as unsafe in cosmetics (CIR 2012). By contrast, the European Union has banned hundreds of chemicals in cosmetics (European Commission 2012).
In February 2019, the FDA announced a new proposal on sunscreen safety -- the FDA hasn't updated its stance on sunscreen safety in more than 40 years. The details of the proposal note that of the 16 currently marketed active ingredients, only zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are generally recognized as safe and effective.
The mineral sunscreen industry has gained popularity in recent years due to increased awareness about its efficacy and safety. Traditionally, dermatologists have steered people toward chemical sunscreens or those using chemical filters, which are easily absorbed by the skin but may not effectively shield from UVA and UVB rays. Dermatologists, retailers and consumer groups are increasingly recommending mineral sunscreen products for their high performance and safer ingredient profile.
Consumer Reports conducted their own sunscreen testing in 2016 and reported that nearly half of those tested did not meet their SPF claims, nearly 3/4 of natural sunscreens also fell short of the SPF on their labels.
The EWG found that companies may be using plant-based antioxidants, which are not approved active sunscreen ingredients, to increase SPF values and hence make the product appear to have greater UV protection.
One of the biggest problems with many sunscreens today is their tendency to focus only on UVB rays. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and tells you the UVB protection, but ignore UVA rays, which are linked to photoaging and skin cancer.
It is important for sunscreens to contain adequate concentrations of the active ingredients zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. An issue that was illuminated as the EWG researched its 2017 guide, is growing SPF values with mineral sunscreens and very low concentrations of active ingredients in many of them. The majority of mineral sunscreens do not provide effective UVA and UVB protection due to low concentrations of active ingredients.
UVA rays can cause the skin to age, can suppress the immune system and can contribute to the development of melanoma. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all sunscreen manufactures test sunscreen for SPF, water resistance and broad spectrum. As long as sunscreen has UVA and UVB protection, it can be labeled as broad spectrum. When its most recent round of sunscreen regulations went into effect in December 2012, the FDA set lax standards for UVA protection. EWG estimates that half of the sunscreens assessed this year are too weak for the European market due to inadequate UVA filtering.
In the nations regulated by the European Commission, manufacturers voluntarily comply with a recommendation that broad spectrum protection by the ratio of UVA to UVB protection, requiring one third of the SPF number to be UVA protection. This provides a significantly greater amount of UVA protection than many American sunscreens, ensuring adequate UVA protection.
Third-party certification means that an independent organization has reviewed the manufacturing process of a product and has independently determined that the final product complies with specific standards for safety, quality or performance.
ECOCERT was the very first certification body to develop standards for "natural and organic cosmetics". COSMOS was created in 2010 by the founders/members BDIH, Cosmebio, Ecocert Greenlife, ICEA and Soil Association to protect and promote organic and natural cosmetics and to launch a global harmonized standard for the benefit of both manufacturers and consumers. The five founding COSMOS members together represent the vast majority of the world’s certified organic and natural cosmetics companies, that’s over 2000 brands in more than 50 countries producing over 45,000 cosmetic products and ingredients.
Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreens are made with the safest UVA and UVB filters - our SPF 30 sunscreens are formulated 20.4% non-nano zinc oxide and our SPF 50 sunscreens are formulated with 21% non-nano zinc oxide and 7.2% non-nano titanium dioxide, meeting and exceeding the regulatory requirements of the FDA OTC Monograph System and the European Commission’s recommendation on UVA protection.
Love Sun Body 100% Natural Origin Mineral Sunscreens are the first and only sunscreens in the U.S. certified by Ecocert Cosmos Natural and have been clinically tested hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic with no eye stinging ingredients.
Love Sun Body was also recently given the best score for safety and efficacy by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Love Sun Body sunscreen formulas are certified PETA cruelty free, vegan and reef safe.