The Truth About Sun Damage and Sunscreen, Save Your Skin Cells

The Truth About Sun Damage and Sunscreen, Save Your Skin Cells

We are all told from a young age about the benefits of applying sunscreen. How we should be wearing it daily to protect our skin from premature aging, sun spots, and many other side effects that are linked to sun damage. We are encouraged by companies that produce these products and by medical professionals not just to wear sunscreen on days that we spend a plethora of hours in the sun but every single day of our lives. So what does sunscreen do for the skin?

The properties that sunscreen products are pumped with creating a blockade that prevents the rays of the sun from reaching and therefore, damaging the skin. But what if sunscreen could be causing more problems than it solves? What if there are dangers that sunscreen holds, and they have been hidden from the public for years? As scary as it is to admit there have been rumblings in the skin care community for several years now and research is beginning to surface that suggests that sunscreen may not be the skin saver that we have been led to believe it is.

How can sunscreen be dangerous for the skin?

Have you ever seen a commercial on television that is meant to promote a product that will end a medical issue and at sounds great until the end of the commercial arrives and then you are given a list of possible side effects that potentially sound worse than the original issue that the product was meant to solve? Well, that’s the general idea of the dangerous side of sunscreen.

It is created and used by people in order to prevent the damage ultraviolet rays of light hold when they penetrate the skin. This is meant to prevent the rays from causing long-term issues for the skin like photo-aging, as well as short-term issues like sunburn. But one of the side effects of wearing some sunscreens is that some of the ingredients in common sunscreens can multiply the number of free radicals in the skin over time. Why is this bad? Because free radicals present a major threat the skin.

What are free radicals?

Understanding free radicals can be a bit tricky but simply put they are uncharged molecules. They are extremely volatile and highly charged, which is what makes them dangerous. Because they are unstable molecules, they lash out and attack molecules that are stable. When the healthy, molecule is damaged it too becomes an unstable molecule and continues the cycle by attacking more healthy molecules around it. This becomes a snowball effect and it starts to affect the living cells in your skin and cause damage to them. The body naturally encounters free radicals and negates their power with the use of antioxidants, but if unchecked they can start to deplete the health of one’s skin.

How does sunscreen cause this dangerous cycle that results in the damaging of your skin cells? 

A study that was conducted by the University of California, Riverside that was led by Kerry Hanson there are specific ingredients that spur this cycle. All three have been approved for use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and all three are used in brands that are widely known.
These ingredients are: octyl methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, and benzophenone-3. They are all filters that are added into sunscreen for the sole purpose of blocking UV rays. However, the study found that when these ingredients break down on the skin, they can actually cause an increase in the number of free radicals in the skin. More specifically the study found that benzophenone-3 heightened free radicals by 64% compared to that of the control group. Octyl methoxycinnamate raised free radicals by 33% and raised them by Octocrylene 16%.

Is any sunscreen safe?

The takeaway from this article should not be that sunscreen is inherently bad for the skin. There is reason to suggest that all sunscreens are damaging to the skin. However, brands that put these common ingredients into their sunscreens can potentially hold major long-term damage to the skin. If one is looking for a safe sunscreen, the best thing to do would be to avoid any and all products that contain these ingredients. Just because the FDA and other organizations that are meant to protect consumers clear a product for the public use that doesn’t mean that there is no way for it to damage your skin.


You need to be vigilant about staying versed on the latest medical news and knowing what affects the skin care products that you use to have on your skin. Make sure that you are aware of what sunscreen filters are in your sunscreen and the ways that they impact your skin’s health.



About the Author Annie Lizstan

Annie Lizstan works as a health and beauty consultant for online websites and an independent researcher by profession. She had completed her studies from university of Arizona and live in Wasilla, Alaska. She always like to explore her ideas about health, fitness and beauty . In her recent period ,she got an opportunity to explore on joint pain relief .She has experience researching as a passion as well as profession.

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