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Sunscreens: New Concerns About Toxicity

We're all encouraged to generously apply sunscreen all over our bodies each summer. But new information suggests that we could actually be rubbing dangerous ingredients into our skin.

Austin, TX, April 20, 2007 --( Consumers have demanded sunscreens that protect against more than the UVB rays that burn our skin. We want products, known as full spectrum sunscreens or sunblocks, that protect us from UVA rays as well. It's the UVA that is absorbed by deeper layers of skin. SPF numbers usually apply only to UVB exposure.

But the problem, as noted in an article in, is that many of the popular ingredients in our full-spectrum sun protection products are loaded with toxins. Avobenzone is used a lot, and some scientists have noted that it breaks down after being on the skin for only an hour - and it could even generate free radicals of its own accord.

There are other chemicals widely used in popular sunscreens which also have questionable safety. And the problem is, our skin absorbs what we put on it. After being absorbed, these chemicals can end up in our bloodstreams. (See Skin: What goes On, Goes In - on the website.)

"I was researching an article that I thought would be quick and easy to write," says Suzann Kale, the head writer at My Makeup Mirror. "But the more research I did, the more I realized this wasn't going to be your typical don't-forget-to-put-sunscreen-on-your-ears type article." And indeed, there is some sobering information about the products we use.

Ironically, the safest ingredients are the good old standards, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. But who could go through the day with a thick, white, pasty glue-like substance all over their bodies?

But with new technologies, Kale notes in her article Sunscreens: What's Toxic and What's Not, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are now being made into nanoparticle form. That means they are now able to be spread on the skin, protect the skin, and be virtually invisible.

Kale also details alternatives to some of the dangerous sunscreens, and lists the ingredients that should - and shouldn't - be getting under our skin.

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My Makeup Mirror
Suzann Kale

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