How Can You Tell If Your Sunscreen Is Doing More Harm Than Good?

Sunscreen is not an optional accessory. It’s essential! UV rays play a big part in photoaging and “are the leading cause of cancer–skin cancer–in the United States,” says Rhonda Allison in “Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good?”[1].

There is a lot of information circulating out there about good and bad ingredients (namely mineral vs. chemical). How can you tell if the products you like to use keep your skin healthy and provide adequate protection from harmful UV damage?

Allison says in the May 2012 edition of Skin Inc Magazine: “Today, the vast majority of SPF formulas have a laundry list of chemicals that potentially subject the skin to dangerous ingredients. Some of the most common chemical ingredients in nonmineral sunscreens include octinoxate, oxybenzone (a form of benzophenone) and avobenzone.[…] When several of these chemicals are combined to form a broad-spectrum sunscreen, the formula may release its own free radicals, subjecting the skin to damage.”

As an alternative, sunscreens classified as physical blockers “have been shown to be more effective [than chemical blockers] in protecting against both UVA and UVB rays. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are the two most commonly used blockers. These naturally occurring ingredients protect against the full UV spectrum; however, one of the major issues with naturally occurring blockers is the chalky cosmetic appearance and texture that is often associated with them.

“Zinc oxide is an inorganic compound and an essential mineral for the body. It plays an important role in cell production, promotes healthy skin and hair, boosts the immune system and also provides broad-spectrum protection, which, in turn, helps reduce UVA-induced free radical production in the deeper layers of the skin. Zinc oxide is not absorbed by the skin; rather it sits on the skin’s surface, blocking both UVA and UVB rays.”

>>To learn more about the ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, click here to read the full-text article “Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good?” on the Skin Inc website.

Allison, R. (2012 April 27). Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good? Skin Inc Magazine. Retrieved from