May 25, 2011

Freckles: The Humble Beginning

Years ago, before I knew better, I used this sunscreen every day:

It probably wasn't their dry touch version, and it may have been before they added helioplex, but you get the picture. Check out the ingredient label (taken from the Neutrogena website):

Active Ingredients:
Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 10%, Oxybenzone 6%

Inactive Ingredients:
Water, Styrene/Acrylates, Copolymer, Silica, Beeswax, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ethylhexylglycerin, Acrylates Dimethicone Copolymer, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, BHT, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Disodium EDTA, Triethanolamine, Methylisothiazolinone, Chlorphenesin, Fragrance.

Besides water, beeswax and fragrance, do you even know what any of these are?? That's the usual tip off that something is amiss in a product (not always, mind you, even the scientific name for shea butter looks complicated: Butyrospermum Parkii). But I decided to investigate on EWG's Cosmetics Database. A friend's ex introduced me to this site, but that's a story for another day. The Cosmetics Database is an incredible website that investigates the safety of personal care products, giving them a ranking from 0-10 (0 being clean and 10 being full of dangerous chemicals). What's great about this website is that it breaks down the overall safety ranking of the product and scores each ingredient individually as well. Neutrogena's Drytouch Sunscreen SPF 100 gets a (drum roll please!) seven. Ouch. And why a seven? Fragrance is linked to neurotoxicity, Oxybenzone to organ system toxicity, and Methylisothiazolinone to immunotoxicity, and the list goes on and on. And if you don't believe that the FDA would release such a product to consumers, take a look for yourself here. That's what I was slathering on my skin everyday?? This served as a wake up call.

It was obvious that I had to find a new sunscreen. Clearly something big had to change, however, because the active ingredients, such as oxybenzone, were dangerous. And that's when I discovered mineral sunscreens.

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