Summer: Find a sunscreen without problematic chemicals

29. jun 2016

Sunscreens on the Danish market – many of which are international brands – have been under examination by the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals. 25 out of 66 sunscreens receive the best assessment for being without content of problematic chemicals.

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Test sunscreen chemicals
Photo: Nikoline Oturai

66 sunscreens examined

Your skin is in close contact with the ingredients in your sunscreen when you are on the beach and apply sunscreen to your body. Therefor it is worth considering which substances your sunscreen contains. Are they for example allergenic or suspected to be endocrine disrupting?

It is not only from your sunscreen that you can be exposed to problematic substances. Other personal care products can also contain unwanted chemicals and you can be exposed to the chemicals from for example dust or vapors in your home. That is what scientists call the cocktail effect, where the amassed exposure from many sources of problematic chemicals can be problematic regarding for example endocrine disrupting effects.

The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals has examined the ingredient list of 66 different sunscreens for unwanted substances.

“In general we recommend sunscreens which do not contain substances that scientists have raised concern over. Fortunately there are many products which do not contain suspected endocrine disruptors. 25 products in the test receive our best mark,” says Christel Søgaard Kirkeby, project manager in the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

She stresses that in general it is not the content in a single sunscreen that is problematic in itself – but it contributes to your total exposure to problematic chemicals.

See the test results (in Danish)

Ecolabels are the easy choice

Endocrine disrupting chemicals are suspected to affect the endocrine system, and result in effects such as low sperm count in boys and early puberty in girls.

In sunscreens consumers can keep an eye out for sunscreens such as ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate and benzophenone-3. They are suspected to be endocrine disrupting. The same goes for methyl- and ethylparaben.

“The names of these substances are close to impossible to remember for consumers. Therefor the easy choice is to look for products with ecolabels – in Denmark we recommend the nordic ecolabel ‘The Swan’. Many consumers also use our app Kemiluppen, which shows whether or not a product contains unwanted chemicals,” says Christel Søgaard Kirkeby.

The app name Kemiluppen roughly translates to The Chemicals Magnifying Glass. The app contains 368 sun products in its database, for example sunscreens, sunsprays and aftersun.

 

For more information:

Mrs Christel Søgaard Kirkeby, csk@fbr.dk, +45 72 11 88 14