Sunscreen ingredients to avoid in 2021

There are some sunscreen ingredients that we know are dangerous, like PABA, Aminobenzoic acid, and trolamine salicylate. These ingredients are shown to do more harm than good and, are no longer commonly used in sunscreens. But there are still some ingredients that we are unsure of. Do these ingredients do more bad than good for your skin? Here are some sunscreen ingredients to avoid in 2021, or at least be aware of.

Potentially harmful sunscreen ingredients:

Oxybenzone – This common sunscreen ingredient has gotten much attention lately. This ingredient has been shown to absorb into the bloodstreams of sunscreen users. It is uncertain if this causes hormone disruption, but multiple studies conclude that oxybenzone does not disrupt your hormones significantly. Yet, the safety of this ingredient is still uncertain. In addition, this sunscreen is harmful to aquatic life. If you want a sunscreen that is safe for the environment, you should stay clear of this ingredient.

Octinoxate (Octyl methoxycinnamate) – This ingredient may also be absorbed into the bloodstream at harmful levels. It may be a hormone disruptor, but much is uncertain and we need more studies on this ingredient. This sunscreen is harmful to aquatic life. If you want a sunscreen that is safe for the environment, you should stay clear of this ingredient.

Homosalate – This common sunscreen ingredient may penetrate the skin and go into the bloodstream. It can possibly disrupt hormones and over time it may produce toxic breakdown byproducts. The European Commission has because of these concerns set a maximum concentration of 1,4% in sunscreens, while it is at 15% in the US. In addition, this sunscreen also may be harmful to aquatic life. If you want a sunscreen that is safe for the environment, you should stay clear of this ingredient.

Octisalate – This ingredient may absorb through the skin and gets into your bloodstream, but what concentrations of this that is dangerous is uncertain. It may be linked with hormone disruption, but this is also uncertain.

Octocrylene – This ingredient may also get into your bloodstream. Allergic reactions are a common side effect of this ingredient. Still, much is uncertain. In addition, this sunscreen also may be harmful to aquatic life. If you want a sunscreen that is safe for the environment, you should stay clear of this ingredient.

Avobenzone – This unstable ingredient is common, and must be paired with other active ingredients to not break down in the sun. Breakdown products may cause allergic reactions. This ingredient may also disrupt your hormonal system. Like with the other ingredients, this one needs more in-depth studies to know for sure if it is safe.

So, what sunscreen is safe?

Now you know what sunscreen ingredients to avoid in 2021, or at least to stay aware of. It is safe to say that much is uncertain with these ingredients. We need more scientific studies to be certain they are safe. With good sunscreen options, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, it is better to stay safe and wait for some good studies to tell us what really is harmful. But it is very difficult to find a good sunscreen without any of these (or other) uncertain ingredients. You should try your best to stay away from uncertain ingredients, but if the concentration is low it should be ok for now. 

Finding a safe sunscreen is both confusing and difficult. Here are some of our favorite sunscreens, with both relatively safe and reef-friendly ingredients: