Many skin products (including sunscreen, but also facial moisturizers, lip balms, lipstick, etc.) contain oxybenzone, which is thought to be a carcinogen. Its potential as a carcinogen is suggested by studies showing that it sinks into the skin and acts as a photosensitizer, increasing the release of free radicals, and by its similarity to benzophenone (of which it is a derivative), which is known to induce strand breaks in DNA.
Many of these ingredients are in question because they have the ability to enter the bloodstream and disrupt the endocrine system, which regulates the releases of hormones into the body, or cause cell mutation in vitro. Synthetic sunscreen ingredients can often mimic estrogen, and so the question is how does that affect systems in the body?
Sunscreen use and melanoma have also been shown to be correlated, but there are no conclusions on causation. As one might imagine, among other possibilities, people who frequently use sunscreen may likely have more sun exposure, period, increasing their risk of melanoma.
The best way to avoid this is to look for an all-natural sunscreen. Look at the ingredients listed. If you see Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide then you’re in good shape.
You’ll want to avoid a product that has these chemicals:
• Menthyl Anthranilate
• Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate)
• Octisalate (Octyl Salicylate)
• Octocrylene, Oxybenzone
• Padimate O
• Para Amino Benzoic Acid (PABA)
• Trolamine Salicylate
Yes, there are studies that show that vitamin D may play a role in preventing cancer, although the link between vitamin D and cancer protection are not clear at this point. However, even while wearing sunscreen your skin still receives enough sunlight to make vitamin D. Some doctors recommend 5 minutes in the sun without sunscreen to help make sure that you are getting enough vitamin D production initiated.