Sunscreen & Your Hormones

As we venture into the warm months of August, you are most likely slathering sunscreen on your skin to protect yourself from sunburns and skin cancer, but you may be unaware of the health risks associated with the ingredients in sunscreen.

Nerd out with me on this fascinating topic of health as we dive into all things sunscreen and your hormones.

As a Nutritional Therapist who specializes in hormonal health, educating my clients on the ingredients in personal care products is a fundamental piece of our work together. Understandably, most people don’t realize that the ingredients in sunscreen can contribute to hormonal and metabolic diseases.

Unfortunately, the United States still has a long ways to go to properly regulate personal care products for safety, and thus consumers need to be educated on what to keep an eye out for.

Ingredients to Avoid

When shopping for sunscreen, check the label for these ingredients:


Valisure is an independent lab that analyzes and certifies products. It published a study that found that 78 (out of 294) different sunscreen and after sun products contained benzene, a human carcinogen known to cause blood cancers in humans… ”There is not a safe level of benzene that can exist in sunscreen products,” stated Dr. Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Yale University. “Even benzene at 0.1 ppm in a sunscreen could expose people to excessively high nanogram amounts of benzene.”

IshbelWELL “Sunscreen, Windsurfing & the J & J Recall”


Butylparaben is in the paraben family of preservatives used by the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care product industries. Parabens mimic estrogen and can act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors.

EWG Skin Deep


Octinoxate increases cell proliferation in cells that grow in response to estrogen exposure. [2],[6],[7] Lifetime estrogen exposure is an established risk factor in the development and progression of breast cancer. Octinoxate affects other hormone systems as well. For instance, it reduces thyroid hormones in blood serum. [8] Thyroid hormones are critical for metabolic functions in the body including mammary gland development. Octinoxate exposure has also been found to alter the reproductive systems of female offspring, with significantly lowered hormone (estradiol and progesterone) levels, [1] which is associated with infertility and miscarriages. In males, there is a reduction in sperm count at all dose levels. [1]

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics


Believe it or not, it’s still industry standard to keep fragrance ingredients secret. This is known as the “fragrance loophole”, and it allows companies to shield their ingredients from the public, under the guise of trade secrets. At Beautycounter, we are committed to creating high-performance products that are also enjoyable to use, which is why many of our moisturizers, lotions, and cleansers are lightly scented with fragrances. But our commitment to transparency means we disclose all of our fragrance ingredients, so you know exactly what is in our products.

Beautycounter Blog

Did you know that the FDA has only recognized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as effective and safe sunscreen ingredients?

Fact #1: Sunscreen is needed on sunny days and cloudy days.

Whether it’s a bright summer day or a cloudy winter afternoon, UV rays are always present. Sunscreen is crucial in protecting our skin from harmful UV radiation, which can lead to premature aging, sunburn, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Beautycounter’s sunscreen products are specially formulated to provide broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, ensuring your skin stays safe under any weather conditions.

Fact #2: Sunscreen is an important part of your anti-aging routine.

90% of the signs of aging are caused by the sun. Sunscreen is essential for protecting skin from the harmful effects of UV rays and “physical sunscreen” is essential for protecting the skin from blue rays from screens which has been found to accelerate aging. Beautycounter’s sunscreen is a “physical sunscreen”.

According to Griffin, traditional chemical sunscreens don’t often provide blue light protection. Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, specifically those that contain zinc oxide, do provide protection against blue light as well as increased protection against UVA and UVB light compared to chemical sunscreens.

Very Well Health

Fact #3: SPF Level does not increase duration of protection.

SPF primarily indicates the level of protection against UVB rays, responsible for causing sunburn. However, a higher SPF doesn’t mean you can stay in the sun for an extended period without reapplication. No sunscreen can provide all-day protection, regardless of its SPF. It’s crucial to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating to maintain its effectiveness. Beautycounter’s sunscreen products are designed to be water-resistant and offer a variety of SPF levels, ensuring you find the right fit for your skin’s needs.

Fact #4: Ingredients in sunscreen kill coral reefs.

According to the National Park Service, 14,000 tons of sunscreen enter the coral reefs each year which can lead to coral bleaching and destruction. Hawaii passed the first ever law banning coral-harming ingredients in 2021.

Fact #5: SPF protects against skin cancer.

Skin cancer affects one in five Americans, and more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. Sunscreen is an important defense against the development of skin cancer.

Quick Tip: A little goes a long way!

  • If you’re just applying sunscreen to your face, use a fourth of a teaspoon.
  • If you’re applying to your face, neck and top of ears, use a half a teaspoon.
  • If you’re applying to entire body, use about an ounce which is about the amount of a shot glass.

If it’s time for you to make the switch to a clean sunscreen, shop Ishbel’s Beautycounter website.

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About me

About Ishbel

For the last twenty years, I have helped people take charge of their health and feel better. I have been in your shoes - sick, tired, and overwhelmed by how to actionably care for myself. If you want to feel better, but don't know where to start, you've come to the right place. Learn More >


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