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Safe sunscreens: the good, the bad and the ugly….

A recent study raised concerned around a common ingredient within some sunscreens. Specifically stating that the levels that end up in the blood after following the manufacturers instructions far exceed levels that have been classed as ‘safe’. The report called in to question the possibility that too much of these compounds could play a role in hormone disruption and even development. So in this quick extension piece we look at some of the products which do contain these ingredients (as well as other potential hormone disruptors) and some of the good guys who manage to avoid. Click here for more about the recent study that raised alarm here and why there is increasing concern.

Ok, so based on the research we know that there are rising concerns around a couple of ingredients that are in sunscreens:

  • Oxybenzone or Benzophenone-3

  • Octinoxate (sometimes labelled as Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate)

And as with other personal care/beauty item items to watch out for:

  • fragrance/‘parfum’ (usually indicates the presence of phthalates)

  • Parabens/preservatives

These elements have been all linked to amongst other things: hormone disruption – click here for more. Obviously you don’t want this at any time as your hormones are so delicately balanced and fundamental to life and health but you especially do not want this if you are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding or have a small and rapidly growing little person.

So, by popular demand – we investigated some of the good guys when it comes to ‘safe’ sunscreen and some of the bad guys who you should seek to avoid if you’re concerned about these ingredients. This list is NOT exhaustive but gives you some idea – please feel free to give us a shout with names we have missed.

Interestingly there were many offenders who were specifically for ‘kids’ and many that were labelled as ‘natural’ products. This is our pet peeve as this once again highlights how totally unregulated this industry is and how these marketing terms often lull us into a false sense of security. Click here for more. Anyway…

(Some of) The Good Guys!

*** Note: we are not endorsed by any of these brands ***

These brands often use ingredients like Titanium Dioxide (which dont break down and penetrate the skin) or elements like Isomyl P-Methoxycinnamate which are not endocrine disrupting. There are more brands that do not contain the nasties, but here are some of our favourites:

Green People: ‘Organic Children’ SPF 30 and it is scent free!

Child’s Farm: SPF sunloatin cream – also scent free.

BioSolis: Lair Solaire Sun Milk: SPF 50

Organii: SPF 50 Sun Milk

REN: Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30

Badger Organics: Sunscreen SPF 30

(Some of) The Bad Guys….

These all of or a combination of fragrance, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Fragrance and preservatives like Parabens. We have mentioned one or two within a range but these are brands that tend to have a lot of different products under the brand umbrella and are worth being extra vigilant if you’re buying their products to check the labels:

Banana Boat: Baby Sunscreen (plus many others in the range)

Aveeno ‘Active Naturals’ Baby SPF 55 (yes…the word ‘natural’ really doesnt mean much!)

Dermalogica: Multivitamin Bodyblock with SPF

Lancôme: Bientait UV Facial Sunscreen SPF 50

Kiehl’s Superfluid UV Defence SPF 15

L’Oreal Paris: Advanced Suncare Quick Dry Finish Spray SPF 50

La Roche-Posay: Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF 60

Bliss: The Big Screen – particularly bad! (Contains all the nasties!)

Nivea Invisible Protection: contains perfume

Other brands to be vigilant of: Hawaiian Tropic, Australian Gold, Coppertone, Moroccanoil and Neutrogena.

Once again – this is not a fully comprehensive list. There will be good names and bad names not on here so use as a guide and we hope this helps!

Please let us know names we have missed and enjoy the sun!


This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The information on this website has been developed following years of personal research and from referenced and sourced medical research. Before making any changes we strongly recommend you consult a healthcare professional before you begin.

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