summer skincare

Is Your Sunscreen Dangerous?


Every time you go in the sun, you need to be wearing your sunscreen. Most of us don’t even realize the damage that is occurring until it’s too late, but there is still hope. Don’t you fret! We’re going to dive into knowing what dangerous ingredients are in your sunscreen.

Read your labels to recognize the dangerous chemicals in sunscreen.

When turning around your bottle, it may all look foreign to you. 

(Click here to learn what some of the symbols on your packaging mean)

It says that it is vegan, cruelty-free, reef safe, etc.  Sounds good, right?


I personally reach for brands that are cruelty-free and vegan. I will not use a product tested on animals or one that contains animal by-products. This doesn’t mean that the product is non-toxic and doesn’t contain dangerous ingredients. You need to read the Active Ingredients as well as the Inactive Ingredients.

Grab your FREE copy of my guide: “10 Harmful Ingredients to AVOID in Beauty Products”. This list will help to start recognizing some of the common dangerous ingredients in your sunscreens that found under Inactive Ingredients.

What dangerous ingredients in sunscreen to avoid and which are safe?

dangerous ingredients in sunscreen

First, as I said above, I will make sure the brand is vegan and cruelty-free. Then I look at the Active Ingredients. Common Active Ingredients and their safety are:

Oxybenzone is extremely toxic. It is a known endocrine disruptor and can mimic hormones. It is also known to cause skin irritation.

Avobenzone is safe on its own, but once in the sun for 30 mins, it breaks down and is not effective.

Octisalate is used to stabilize Avobenzone. This ingredient is not as harmful as others but is linked to skin irritations.

Octinoxate is potentially harmful to animals and the environment. It contributes to “coral bleaching.”

Octocrylene is used in conjunction with Avozenzone to help it last longer. However, it is known to cause DNA damage, developmental abnormalities, and adverse reproductive issues in aquatic life. It has also been found in seafood that is then consumed by humans.

Homosalate is an endocrine disruptor and absorbs short wave UV rays, which can cause DNA damage and lead to skin cancer.

Titanium Dioxide is both harmful and non-harmful. When it is a nanoparticle size, it is hazardous to you and the environment (think coral reef and aquatic life). There is not very much information available on the risk of this, so at all costs avoid nanoparticle. Some sunscreens will state non-nanoparticle titanium dioxide, and that is safe.

Zinc Oxide is the safest ingredient listed on Sunscreens.

Next, you want to look at the list of Inactive Ingredients. Here is a list of some of the toxic ingredients that you may find:

dangerous ingredients on sunscreen lables

*Dimethicone- harmful to the environment, non-biodegradable

*Fragrance– can cause skin irritations, allergens, and possible carcinogen

*BHT– dangerous to the environment and animals

*Retinyl Palmitate– can cause reproductive problems and potential cancer-causing

*Methylisothiazolinone– toxic to aquatic life and maybe a skin sensitizer

*Alcohol Denat– drying and cause skin irritations

*Phenoexthanol– can affect the brain and central nervous system as well as skin and eye irritations

I’m going to start with a few popular brands that you may think are good that aren’t.

sun bum has dangerous ingredients in sunscreen

1. Hawaiian Tropics– My first reason is going to be a lack of transparency. When I went to their website in search of their ingredients, I couldn’t find it on their website. That is a big red flag for me.

The ingredients I was able to find that are harmful: Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, Octocrylene, Fragrance, Paraben, and Phenoxyethanol. It is also not vegan or cruelty-free.

2. Coppertone– This company also did not have the ingredients listed on their website. They had very similar ingredients to Hawaiian Tropics. Coppertone is also not vegan or cruelty-free.

3. Sun Bum– This company is cruelty-free and mostly vegan. Active ingredients listed are Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, and Octocrylene. We discussed those above. Toxic Inactive Ingredients to avoid are Dimethicone, Methylisothiazolinone, BHT, and Fragrance.

These can certainly seem like a daunting task to find a sunscreen that is good after reading all the bad stuff. I got yo back!

Here are my recommendations for sunscreens that are safe for you to use.

safe sunscreen for kids

1. Juice Beauty– One of the first companies leading the clean, non-toxic beauty train. It is cruelty-free, vegan, and sustainably sourced.
*Here is a link to the sunscreen I use:

2. Badger Balm– The Active Ingredient listed is Zinc Oxide. Following that is a minimal list of readable Inactive Ingredients. The company is cruelty-free, but not vegan because of beeswax.
*Here is the link to sunscreen I use:

3. All Good– A non-toxic line that is easy to buy. It is available at Target as well as online. They are reef, safe, and cruelty-free. I don’t believe they are vegan because of beeswax, but I think the sunscreen is vegan.
*Here is the link to buy:

Now that you armed with the knowledge of what brands to use and which to avoid and why. You can now make your decisions on where you want to put your money and feel confident with your purchase. If you are interested in learning more about clean beauty and why it’s essential click here.

Download your copy of 10 Harmful Ingredients to AVOID in Beauty Products here.

harmful ingredients in beauty products

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