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Sun screens - cancer in a bottle?
The dangers of PABA / Oxybenzone

(Already know the dangers, just looking for chemical free suncreens, just follow the link, click "products from the top menu and then select "sun care on the left")

The British Medical Journal recently showed that sunbathers using some suntan lotions have a higher risk of developing malignant Skin Cancer, and a possible link with Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is the Chemical used in many sun products with high Sun Protection Factors.

Oxybenzone’s function is to ‘filter’ ultra violet light on the surface of the skin, converting it from light to heat, but it can also be absorbed through the skin. As yet we have not seen any research to indicate what happens when the oxybenzone is absorbed through the skin, but UV light causing cell damage is well known and readers may choose to avoid this form of sun protection. If light is converted to heat in the basal layers of the skin, damage to growing cells is very likely.

Environmental + Health News May 98 reports that scientists at the Memorial Sloan Cancer centre N.Y., U.S.A. and the U.S Government Brookhaven Laboratory have found that sunscreens protected against sunburn and cancers like Carcinoma, but not against Melanoma which has increased twenty fold in Europe and U.S.A. since 1935.

Environmental + Health News also reports that Oxford University scientist John Knowland shows that PABA* seemed to damage DNA, thus increasing the risk of skin cancer. He recommends using non-PABA products.

*Para-amino-benzoic acid is very common and works by absorbing UV rays in much the same way as oxybenzone.

One of the oldest tried and tested methods is to use tin oxide as a ‘reflecting’ coating to the skin. Tin oxide is widely used in wound dressings and considered safe, Applied as a cream it is visible in daylight. Although ‘safe’ it should be avoided by people with dry skin conditions as it has a drying action.

Many people will remember Calamine Lotion as both a sun protection and a soothing after sun. It is based on Zinc Oxide, is pink, visible in daylight and is easily washed off in water. It is likely that this, and other "reflective" sunscreens will, in the long run turn out to be much safer than "absorbing" lotions containing PABA and/or oxybenzone or benzophenone.

If you are in doubt about the safety of your sunscreen, email us, or simply use non-oxybenzone sunscreens rather than "converting" ones. (select "products at the top of the page, then "sun care" from the left)

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