Two chemical sunscreen ingredients useless and dangerous

Many sunscreen products on the market today contain ineffective and harmful chemicals. Fortunately, late last year Congress passed the Sunscreen Innovation Act (SIA). According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), this new law could help bring safer and more effective sunscreens to U.S. shelves. The new law also forced the FDA to speed up its review process for sunscreen ingredients.

In fact, in February 2015, the FDA announced its intention to prevent two sunscreen ingredients–ecamsule and enzacamene–from entering the U.S. market unless the companies using them can prove they’re safe and effective. Manufacturers claim these ingredients protect the skin from ultraviolet rays.

The FDA has actually been reviewing ecamsule and enzacamene for years. Enzacamene, in particular, has been under review by FDA since 2002. Studies indicate that it’s a potential hormone disruptor. Plus, the FDA has additional concerns about bioavailability, dermal effects, and toxicity.

Spending time in the sun is good for your mood and health. But how can you do it safely without harmful chemicals?

First, you can safely spend 10 to 15 minutes each day in the sun without sunscreen between April and October.

Second, when you do spend more time in the sun, find a sunscreen with natural ingredients. On Tuesday, I gave you some suggestions for using natural oils to protect your skin from harmful rays.  These natural oils have enough “SPF” power to protect the skin without the toxic “overkill” contained in so many commercial products.

Third, if you want to use a commercial product, refer to the Environmental Working Group’s website. Each year, they rate sunscreen products on safety and effectiveness.

Last, beware of a front organization called the PASS (Public Access to Sun Screens) Coalition. This organization pushes the FDA to approve dangerous, unneeded sunscreen chemicals. They clearly work under the guise of the sunshine = skin cancer hysteria promulgated by the new Surgeon General. (In one way, it’s refreshing to hear this “Johnny-Come-Lately/Johnny-One-Note” Surgeon General talk about something other than gun control.)

But the Surgeon General should really lead a campaign to promote sun exposure and healthy vitamin D levels, given the national epidemic of vitamin D deficiency and the government’s woefully low Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) for this key nutrient.

Research shows vitamin D helps prevents skin cancer. It also lowers the risk of other cancers, dementia, Type II diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, anxiety, and depression. Plus, new research shows vitamin D may play a role in stroke prevention. I’ll tell you more about that research in an upcoming Daily Dispatch.

Bottom line?

You just can’t afford to block out all the sun’s rays because you need them to activate vitamin D production in your skin. In fact, sunshine doesn’t kill people. Chronic diseases caused by low vitamin D levels do.


“Two sunscreen ingredients not safe or effective,” Medscape ( 2/27/15