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Does the Brand of Sunscreen I use Really Matter? YES - And Here is Why!

By Becky E. Zook RN, BSN, MS


Ever since the great “Sunscreen Recall” of 2021, more sunscreen manufacturers have both voluntarily and involuntarily pulled sunscreen formulations off the shelves of your local stores. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) identifies and recalls sunscreens containing cancer- causing ingredients from brands like Neutrogena, Aveeno, and even Coppertone.

In a 2021 letter to the FDA, Valisure, an independent lab in New Haven, CT, reported its findings on the cancer-causing agent benzene and the associated sunscreen brands. The report cites the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publication about benzene-containing products and their many dangerous health effects. Benzene is identified as a significant toxic ingredient that contaminated the waters of Camp Lejune, NC, causing cancer in service men and women and their families. Benzene and its byproducts harm not only humans but also our waters, marine life, and even private and public swimming pools.

But what does this actually mean to you as a sunscreen user? In this article, we will examine the harmful ingredients in sunscreens and the harm to you and your family, oceans, and pools. We will present Dermaka Sunscreen, the mineral-based, all-natural, reef, marine, and swimming pool-friendly brand.

Harmful Ingredients - Read Your Labels!

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) clearly identifies only two safe ingredients for sunscreen, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide. Both of these mineral substances provide a physical sunscreen, meaning they reflect the sun’s radiation away from your skin. Both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide minerals are safe to use if the concentration in the sunscreen is 25% or less.

Chemical sunscreens, like those containing benzene and its byproducts, absorb solar radiation and prevent damage; however, these chemical products also absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream, creating disease-causing effects. No safe levels of benzene in sunscreens have been established.

Harm to You

Benzene, oxybenzone, avobenzone, benzophenone, sulisobenzone, and dioxybenzone are all derivatives of the benzene family. According to the CDC, these products are found in crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke. Benzene products are also in some lubricants, rubber products, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides.

Benzene can be ingested, inhaled, and absorbed through the skin. Consistent exposure, like the exposures in sunscreen, is harmful to humans and may cause:

  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Headaches, confusion, tremors
  • Unconsciousness and death (at high levels)

Long-term exposure may cause:

  • Bone marrow suppression
  • Poor red blood cell production
  • Decreased blood platelets and increased risk of bleeding
  • Immune suppression (increased risk for illness and cancers)
  • Toxic effects on unborn children
  • Infertility in men
  • Leukemia and other forms of cancer

Harm to Your Ocean and Your Pool

Benzene is harmful not only to you but also to your ecosystems. Benzene products in the ocean cause:

  • Interruption in natural photosynthesis in sea plants (the inability to turn sunlight into food in plants)
  • Bleaching and death of coral
  • Death of marine animals dependent on sea plants and corals

When benzene is combined with chlorine in swimming pools, a chemical reaction occurs, rendering the benzene and chlorine “soup” toxic to humans. The byproducts of the chemical reaction can cause liver and kidney damage, even in small doses when the elderly or children are exposed. If a swimming pool has been contaminated with enough benzene-containing sunscreen, the pool must be emptied and properly cleaned by a licensed pool specialist.

Dermaka - All natural, Mineral Based, Non-Toxic Sunscreen

We opened this article asking, “Does the brand of sunscreen I use really matter?” The science says YES, it matters a great deal. It is vital to choose a brand of sunscreen that is not only non- toxic but effective.page2image219129344

Dermaka Sunscreen is an all-natural, mineral-based, non-toxic sunscreen created to reduce the risk of skin cancer and provide a safe alternative to drugstore brands. Dermaka Sunscreen contains safe levels of zinc oxide (7.7%) and titanium dioxide (6%), offering a physical barrier to sunshine radiation. These naturally occurring minerals reflect the ultraviolet (UV) radiation away from the skin and do not absorb into the wearer's bloodstream.

Dermaka Sunscreen’s inactive ingredients are equally as good for the skin as the protection offered by the mineral formulation. With aloe vera to moisturize, green team extract and chamomile extract to soothe the skin, watermelon, coconut oil, and other plant extracts to help the skin stay supple while being protected from the aging harm of UV rays. Dermaka Sunscreen is vegan, cruelty-free, and safe for any skin type and age group.

Dermaka Sunscreen is ocean, plant, and reef safe, causing no damage to your natural waterways. In addition, the sunscreen is safe for public and private swimming pools.

As an added bonus, Dermaka Sunscreen’s sun protection factor (SPF) meets AAD standards of over 30 SPF. With an SPF of 42, Dermaka Sunscreen provides better protection than most other brands. Dermaka Sunscreen comes in tinted and a soon-to-be-launched non-tinted line. You can purchase Dermaka Sunscreen via the Dermaka Website or on Amazon.

With the risks of skin cancer, sunscreen is a must; however, not at the risk of your personal health, the health of those you love, or our waterways and swimming pools. Order your Dermaka Sunscreen today and begin your journey to safety in the sun!

Have you used Dermaka Sunscreen? Share your testimony on the Dermaka Website; we would love to hear from you!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended to raise awareness and educate the public. It is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis and treatment. If you have health concerns, please visit your healthcare provider.