Fertility: Is Sunscreen Harmful?
For years, we have been using sunscreen to protect us from having skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sunscreen helps prevent sunburn thus, reducing the risk of skin cancer as well as premature aging. However, a recent study suggests that although it protects our skin, sunscreen can also be the culprit behind another condition: infertility.
Fertility rates all over the world have fallen during the last decade and scientists have theorized that chemicals found in everyday products such as sunscreen are contributing to this problem – particularly in men.
What Researches Say
In a 2014 study, it was suggested that exposure to certain benzophenone UV radiation filters found in sunscreen might be linked to infertility in men. Researchers tested concentrations of the said UV filters in the urine of men and found that two of them were associated with reduced fertility in men.
In April 2016, researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that the filters used in sunscreens that absorb ultraviolet light could also be the same ones causing infertility. Nearly half of the ingredients used to block out UV light mimic the effects of progesterone, the female hormone, thus preventing sperm cells from functioning normally. Researchers found 29 out of 31 UV filters approved for use in sunscreen both in the United States and Europe. 45% of the filters stopped sperm from functioning properly.
Sunscreens have active ingredients that come in two forms: chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreens contain chemicals that can be absorbed into the body and can be found in the urine, blood and even breast milk. These chemicals might potentially cause hormone disruptions.
SO, IF YOU ARE TYING TO START A FAMILY, these precautions should be considered:
*Look for mineral-based sunscreens such as those that contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
*Check your sunscreen against their sunscreen database.
*Avoid products with an SPF higher than 50 as these high SPF claims might be misleading.
*Avoid spray sunscreens as they do not provide a uniform coating.
*Avoid sunscreens with vitamin A. They have been linked to skin tumors and lesions on sun-exposed skin.
*Avoid oxybenzone – the most common UV filter. This can be an allergen and hormone disruptor.
What is the best way to protect yourself from the sun?
The answer is simple – COVER UP! Use clothing that will help cover your skin from the rays of the sun. Do not forget to use hats, too!
Aside from sunscreen lotions, there are also other products that you have to use with caution such as makeup, lip balms and moisturizers – these products also contain sunscreen.