Oxybenzone is a common sunscreen ingredient used to filter and absorb ultraviolet light. Its considered a high hazard by the Environmental Working Group, but despite its hazardous rating, its found in more than 600 sunscreens sold in the U.S.
What makes oxybenzone so bad? Its been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage.
"Oxybenzone is a suspected hormone disruptor that's linked to low birth weights in baby girls," explains Alexandra Spunt, co-author of No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products. "It's also a 'penetration enhancer', which means it helps other ingredients enter the body more readily. That's a problem when you consider that a CDC study found oxybenzone to be present in the urine of 97 percent of the 2,500 Americans it tested.
"But we don't absorb all of it," she continues, "4 to 6,000 tons of the stuff is washing off our bodies and into our oceans every year, and this is destroying coral reefs. It's lose-lose."
Make sure you choose an oxybenzone-free sunscreen.
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