Is your favorite sunscreen giving you cancer?

Summer is upon us—and I think it’s safe to say that we’re all ready to get out of the house and mingle again. Luckily, the success of the COVID-19 vaccines means we may actually be able to do just that… and enjoy something close to normal yet again.  

But if it’s not one thing, it’s another. And the danger I want to address today is one that I’ve told you about many times before: Sunscreen.   

In fact, this new analysis really makes me wonder whether all that skin cancer—now the No. 1 cancer in the U.S.—might really be caused by sunscreen and not the sun itself….   

There’s no “safe” level of benzene 

A major announcement made waves recently, claiming that many sunscreens have high levels of benzene, a known carcinogen. 

Valisure, an online pharmacy that tests every batch of medication that they sell, recently announced that they had petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to recall sun care products due to high levels of benzene. 

They tested nearly 300 batches from 69 companies. And they found benzene in more than 25 percent of these samples—many from major brands like Neutrogena® and Banana Boat®.  

Here again, we’re not talking small amounts, either. Some of these batches contained triple the amount of benzene that the FDA considers safe.  

(I just love how the FDA gets to decide the “safe” amount of poison to be exposed to. It would be questionable even if we only encountered one toxin every day. Let’s face it, though: We probably come into contact with hundreds, if not thousands, of poisons daily.)   

So you know what? The FDA’s 2 ppm limit is not safe. There is no safe level of benzene—especially in sunscreens, where people leave them on their entire bodies for prolonged periods of time, and often apply more than once. 

You may not be ingesting the stuff. But these ingredients absorb through the skin—and end up in the blood at high levels—just as readily.  

Always check the ingredient list 

This is exactly why I’m always asking you to pay close attention to your personal care and household products. The chemicals in them will most certainly end up in your body (and your pets’ bodies, for that matter).

When it comes to sunscreens, specifically, these are the ingredients you want to look out for, at they could be cancerous:  

  • 3-benzylidene camphor 
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor 
  • Benzophenone-1 
  • Benzophenone-8 
  • Nano-titanium dioxide 
  • Nano-zinc oxide 
  • Octinoxate 
  • Octocrylene  
  • OD-PABA  
  • Oxybenzone 

(As for other toxins lurking in multiple forms, check out the April 2019 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter [“Staying healthy in a polluted world: How to protect yourself against the dangerous toxins you come face-to-face with on a daily basis”] for a basic rundown of my “hall of shame”. Not yet a subscriber? Click here to become one today!) 

Of course, the link between excessive sun exposure and skin cancer is also clear. So I understand the dilemma of enjoying the sunshine while also avoiding a sunburn.  

Luckily, there are plenty of safe, simple, and effective ways to do just that.  

First, avoid peak hours of sun, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the rays are the strongest. Because while umbrellas and hats will provide some shade, you still have ultraviolet (UV) rays bouncing off of other surfaces. 

Second, sun-protective clothing is also key. Look for wide-brimmed hats, and wear UV-protective sunglasses along with light, long-sleeved shirts and pants.  

(This “trend” has quickly become one of my favorites, as they make really cool clothes with an UV-protection factor that you can use in or out of the water, while still showing off your beach body.) 

And finally, not all sunscreens contain harmful ingredients. There are plenty of natural options on the market that you can safely use on your skin. (I like Lavera, Aubrey, Earth’s Best, and Soleo the best.) All you have to do is look for one of two ingredients: zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. (Note that you’ll want to stay away from “nano” versions of these two ingredients, which are manufactured versions of these two natural substances.) 

These options won’t lather as well or be as easy to remove from your skin. And they may cause you to look “pasty”. But they’re not likely to give you cancer… so I’d call that a pretty fair trade-off.  

Now, get out there and have an amazing summer! 


“Sun Safety: Cancerous Chemicals Found in Sunscreens.” WebMD Health News, 05/28/21. (