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Toxic Sunscreen Ingredients + Alternatives & A Recipe

Many sunscreens contain toxic chemicals that cause more damage to the body than a little sunburn ever will.

Let's review the top 6 toxic ingredients commonly found in sunscreens, as well we safer alternatives and an easy homemade recipe

Per David Wolfe, here are 6 ingredients to look out for:

》Oxybenzone - a chemical that helps other chemicals penetrate the skin. It undergoes a chemical reaction when exposed to UV rays, and it can cause a eczema-like reaction to your skin. Research also suggests that oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor that can have negative effects on your endocrine system.

》Octinoxate - one of the most common ingredients found in SPF sunscreens. It’s designed to protect the skin from sun-induced aging, but experts believe it may actually cause premature aging. Octinoxate produces free radicals that damage the skin and cells. It’s also an endocrine disruptor.

Retinyl Palmitate - an antioxidant designed to improve sunscreen’s performance against UV exposure. Unfortunately, retinol compounds break down when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. This reaction can produce free radicals that damage DNA. Studies have shown that retinyl palmitate may even speed up the development of malignant cells and skin tumors when applied to the skin.

  • "2012 study by U.S. government scientists suggests that retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight (NTP 2012). Officials in Germany and Norway have cautioned that retinyl palmitate and other vitamin A ingredients in cosmetics could contribute to vitamin A toxicity when combined with excessive exposure to the sun (German BfR 2014, Norwegian SCFS 2012a). The evidence for these effects, though not definitive, is troubling." (

Homosalate - helps sunscreen better penetrate the skin. Once the skin absorbs it, homosalate accumulates quickly in the body. It builds up at a rapid pace and the body isn’t able to get rid of it. The build up of homosalate becomes toxic and disrupts hormones in the body.

》Octocrylene - absorbs UV rays and produces oxygen radicals that can damage the cells. When octocrylene is absorbed by the skin, it can accumulate in the body in high amounts. It can end up causing cell mutations, and it’s also toxic to the environment.

》Paraben Preservatives - can cause allergic reactions, hormone disruption, developmental toxicity and reproductive toxicity. They’re often used in sunscreen, along with deodorants and other cosmetics.

Most Toxic Sunscreens to Avoid:

Walgreens Dry Touch Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100

•Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70

•Panama Jack Sunscreen Continuous Spray, SPF 100

•Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 85+

•Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100+

•Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100+

•Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 60+

•Neutrogena Age Shield Face Oil-Free Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 110

•Equate Sport Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100

•Equate Beauty Ultra Light Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100

•CVS Health Ultra Sheer Lotion, SPF 100

•CVS Health Sensitive Skin Sun Lotion, SPF 60+

•CVS Health Ultra Protection Sun Lotion, SPF 100

•Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100

•COOLA Classic Body Sunscreen Spray, Peach Blossom, SPF 70

•Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100

•Banana Boat Ultra Defense Clear Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100

•Banana Boat Kids MAX Clear Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100

•Australian Gold Botanical Natural Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70

204 Beach & Sport Sunscreens Meet EWG's Criteria -

Some Sunscreen Alternatives:

Goddess Garden Everyday Natural Sunscreen Lotion – Biodegradable, Vegan, Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, GMO-free, Nano-free, Made with organic ingredients

True Natural Ultra Protect 50 Antioxidant Sunscreen – Non-nano, GMO-free, Cruelty-free, Gluten-free, Vegan, Made with organic ingredients

Badger SPF 25 Sunscreen Lotion Unscented – 100% NPA Certified Natural, certified NSF Non-GMO, Non-nano, Cruelty-free, Made with 95% certified organic ingredients

Badger Damascus Rose SPF 25 Face Sunscreen Lotion – 100% NPA Certified Natural, Certified NSF Non-GMO, Non-Nano, Cruelty-free, Made with 95% certified organic ingredients

Search all sunscreens here:

OR create your own!

Love this recipe and information from Wellnessmama:

"Many of the ingredients in this recipe have a natural SPF (sun protection factor). This is a natural recipe and has not been tested by a regulatory organization for exact an SPF. For this reason, I can’t (and don’t) make any claims or even guesses as to the combined SPF.

The individual ingredients are considered low SPF and generally quoted at these levels:

🔄Almond oil: SPF around 5

🔄Coconut oil: SPF 4-6

🔄Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide: SPF 2-20 depending on how much is used

🔄Red raspberry seed oil: SPF 25-50

🔄Carrot seed oil: SPF 35-40

🔄Shea butter: SPF 4-6


½ cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)

¼ cup coconut oil

¼ cup beeswax

2 TBSP zinc oxide

1 tsp red raspberry seed oil (or less, optional)

1 tsp carrot seed oil (or less, optional)

2 TBSP shea butter (optional)

Optional Ingredients:

essential oils

vanilla extract

other natural extracts (not citrus)


*Combine all the ingredients except zinc oxide in a pint-sized or larger glass jar.

*Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place on the stove over medium heat.

*Put a lid loosely on the jar and place it in the pan with the water.

*Shake or stir the jar occasionally to mix the ingredients as the melt.

*When all the ingredients are completely melted, stir in the zinc oxide, and pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage.

*Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated.

*Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator to increase shelf life.


*This sunscreen is not waterproof and will need to be reapplied after sweating or swimming.

*Make sure not to inhale the zinc oxide. Use a mask if necessary!

*Add more beeswax to make thicker sunscreen, less to make smooth sunscreen

*Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.

*I prefer to store in a small canning jar and apply like a body butter. It will be thicker, especially if you use coconut oil in the recipe.

*Remove the zinc oxide and this makes an excellent lotion recipe!

OR An Even Faster Way to Make Sunscreen:

》Get a bottle of your favorite lotion (that doesn’t contain citrus oils!)

》Add a couple tablespoons of non-nano zinc oxide

》Mix well



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