Chemical filter sunscreens were developed for their ease of use and inexpensive ingredients. These products typically include a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate.
Many of these sunscreens are ineffective and studies have shown in addition to hormone disruption, skin penetration, skin allergies, cell damage and other concerns.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “oxybenzone has been detected in nearly every American’s blood. Studies have shown that oxybenzone may have an impact on the endocrine system (the glands in your body that make hormones), adding that in one instance, increased levels of oxybenzone in adolescent boys led to lower testosterone levels. Octinoxate may have a similar range of concerns associated with it, noting that there are fewer studies and less research to back up those claims. For that reason, much of the research focuses on oxybenzone”. Despite concerns from the FDA, oxybenzone is still legal and is used in some of the most commercially popular sunscreen brands available.
Avobenzone is not stable when exposed to ultraviolet light. Avobenzone’s instability issues tend to become even worse when it is mixed in a formula with one or both of the mineral active sunscreen ingredients. Several manufacturers have combined avobenzone with trademarked stabilizing compounds to increase its effectiveness. These additional chemical compounds may cause skin irritation and other yet-undiscovered problems.
Chemical sunscreens absorb UV radiation. This means UVA rays, the type responsible for more serious damage, reach deeper layers of skin. Most chemical UV filters protect from UVA or UVB rays, not both.