Sunscreen Can Be Dangerous, But Don’t Give Up On Sun Protection

You know I’m not the FDA’s biggest fan. But as they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

And just in time for beach season, the FDA is finally admitting the harsh truth about commercial sunscreens. The study came from the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, a branch of the Food and Drug Administration.

FDA researchers finally admit that seven chemicals commonly used in these sunscreens are absorbed into the bloodstream at levels that exceed safety standards.

The study is a follow-up to research published one year earlier, which focused on chemical filters avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule.

In that study, these chemicals were able to make their way into the bloodstream after just a single day of use.

The FDA’s new study expanded this list to include homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate. The regulatory agency is now calling on companies to test their formulas for potential harm from long-term use.1

Here’s what just a few of these chemical ingredients can do:

    • Oxybenzone: This ingredient is one of the most commonly used sunscreen chemicals. Oxybenzone is linked to endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity, allergies, and photoallergies caused by sun exposure. Photoallergies can leave you with a rash, blisters, and even lesions a day after using.
    • Homosalate: This ingredient is also linked to hormone disruption. And it can also increase the absorption of pesticides, including bug sprays.
    • Octinoxate: Numerous studies have proved that this chemical can cause reproductive problems, including low sperm count in males and changes in the size of the uterus in lab animals exposed to moderate or high doses of the chemical.

But despite this dire admission by the agency in charge of protecting your health, the FDA – as well as the American Academy of Dermatology – continue to recommend applying sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin

every two hours.

I’ve been warning my patients and readers about the dangers of commercial sunscreens for as long as I can remember. These mass-produced lotions are jam-packed with free radicals that can disrupt your hormone balance, deprive your body of essential nutrients, and can even lead to cancer and death.

But that doesn’t mean you should neglect sun protection altogether.

Don’t give up on sun protection

As I’ve told my patients and readers before, most brands of sunblock you’ll find at the store will do you more harm than good.

Even without these harmful chemicals, these creams are depriving you of the best supply of crucial vitamin D your body can have – the sun!

You see, our ancestors didn’t become as strong and healthy as they were by avoiding the sun at all costs, far from it. In fact, it should come as no surprise that they spent most of their time with their skin exposed.

This doesn’t mean that sun protection isn’t necessary. The trick is to find protection that doesn’t pose any risk to your physiology. And for that, we have to turn away from Big Pharma and the medical establishment.

Thankfully, natural solutions make this easy to do. With these, you should have no trouble giving your skin the protection it needs – without depriving it of the vitamin D it needs to stay healthy.

Here’s what I recommend to my patients.

    1. Use nature’s sunblock – zinc. Unlike the artificial chemicals in the FDA’s study, zinc safely sits at the top of your skin. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology revealed that intact zinc oxide nanoparticles neither penetrate the skin barrier nor cause any cellular toxicity.2 Look online for micro-fine zinc oxide and apply 30 minutes before getting some sun for an extended amount of time.
    2. Mix zinc with capuacu butter. If you have a whole day planned in the sun, I recommend mixing zinc oxide with capaucu butter. This will enhance your protection from UV rays. But instead of absorbing these rays like the chemicals in commercial sunscreens do, this butter will help distribute those rays and keep them on the surface where they belong.
    3. Don’t be afraid of the sun. While protection is important, you also need to give your skin the time it needs to absorb what it needs from the sun. I recommend getting between 15 and 20 minutes of pure sun exposure every day, if possible.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Al Sears, MD, CNS



1. Matta M, et al. “Effect of sunscreen application on plasma concentration of sunscreen active ingredients.” JAMA. 2020;323(3):256-267
2. Mohammed Y, et al. “Support for the safe use of zinc oxide nanoparticle sunscreens: Lack of skin penetration or cellular toxicity after repeated application in volunteers.” J Invest Derm. 2018;139(2):308-315