Summer is nearing and I am sure you’re eager to catch some ‘rays! But friends, before we slather on that sunscreen let’s grab a matcha and discuss the potentially toxic ingredients that lurk in conventional SPF products.

We’re sure you’re aware that conventional sunscreens contain a host of toxic ingredients such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule, but in a report released in early May, the peer-reviewed medical journal, JAMA, stated that “many of these active ingredients enter the bloodstream at levels that far exceed the FDA’s recommended threshold.” Wait. What?! Yuck!
Let’s take a closer look at why these four trouble-makers are so nasty:
  • Oxybenzone is a synthetic estrogen that can be absorbed through the skin. It can disrupt our hormone system, causing a severe reaction that manifests as rashes or skin sensitivities. Studies show that 96% of Americans have Oxybenzone circulating in their bodies! 
  • Avobenzone is an ingredient that becomes toxic in large doses – this is really worrisome in a product that we apply and reapply to our entire bodies! This ingredient is linked to skin rashes and allergies.
  • Octocrylene is not only toxic to our bodies but also our environment. Anything containing Octocrylene cannot be considered reef safe, and it has the potential to leech off your body and into the delicate eco-systems of our waterways. On the human body, octocrylene actually absorbs UV light and produces oxygen radicals that can cause cell damage and mutations. 
  • Ecamsule is an organic compound that was patented by the L’oreal Corporation in 1982 and is now found in many sunscreens. It was approved by the FDA in 2006, but in 2015 the FDA announced that Ecamsule in concentrations up to 10 percent is not “generally recognized as safe and effective” (a.k.a. GRASE) and is misbranded when used in over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreen products because the currently available data is insufficient to classify it as GRASE, and additional information is needed. That sounds…..suspicious at best
The study also states that all four of these ingredients were in extreme excess of the limit, and three of the ingredients remained “in the bloodstream for seven days. For oxybenzone, which has been found along with other sunscreen ingredients in breast milk, plasma concentrations reached the threshold within two hours after a single application and exceeded 20 ng/mL on day 7 of the study.” Alarming information when you consider that more than 60% of conventional sunscreens on the market contain at least one of these worrisome ingredients.
In fact, of the more than 1400 sunscreens that the EWG has tested, only 5% met their safety standards and more than 40% of sunscreens tested were recognized as potentially being linked to skin cancer. The EWG then rounded up the 16 most common ingredients in popular sunscreens, and of them, only 2 were proven safe: zinc and titanium dioxide. These two ingredients work to protect your skin from the sun by reflecting the sun’s rays through a physical or reflective barrier, and neither ingredient can be absorbed through the skin.

While we would love for you to take the time to clean up your entire personal care routine, sunscreen is an area deserving of immediate attention for a couple of reasons. First, because we apply it to such large areas of our body — typically head to toe and including some of our most sensitive areas. Second, because we tend to wear it all day and are encouraged to reapply it. Third, because it’s a product that we frequently use on our children.  And lastly, because we apply this product and then go into our oceans and waterways — allowing these toxic ingredients to seep into our environment, causing damage to reefs and aquatic life.

Our team at W3LL PEOPLE has worked hard to introduce innovative, nontoxic SPF protection into our good-for-you cosmetics. Our products are all oxybenzone and avobenzone free — making them reef safe, and won’t find find any octocrylene or ecamsule lurking in our formulas.  In fact, our selection of products provide natural environmental protection derived from non-micronized zinc providing physical, not chemical, broad spectrum SPF protection that you know is safe and healthy for the entire family.
As a reminder, W3LL PEOPLE products are also free of  GMOs, Gluten, Phthalates, Sulfates, Fragrance, Pheonoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Petrolatum, PEG, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Mineral Oil, Talc, Nanoparticles and any crappy fillers!
Our ingredient standards says it all “NO potentially toxic chemicals, preservatives or petro ingredients, not even a little bit, ever. We hope this makes it easy for you to feel confident using our products. However, to further demonstrate our commitment to providing better beauty choices, we are a proud sponsor of the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Sun Safety campaign. This campaign grew out of a year-long series of meetings and discussions among EWG staff, independent scientists, researchers, dermatologists and companies with an interest in sun protection (that’s us!) and resulted in a united coalition determined to spread awareness and educate the public about this vital public health initiative.

We’d like to take a moment to tell you more about our Suncare Collection, and are looking forward to a gorgeous summer with you!

This multi-tasking product is truly a makeup and skincare hybrid. Bio Tint primes skin with broccoli seed oil, uses natural pigments to correct imperfections, utilizes an advanced bio-peptide complex to boost collagen production, has algae extracts to combat hyper-pigmentation and organic ginseng to revitalize, all while protecting your skin using the SPF 30 broad spectrum protection of pure zinc. To top it all off it is also vegan and EWG Verified for non-toxic health and safety. Shop Bio Tint here.

A powder SPF can be a total game-changer for your poolside routine — easy to apply and looks great swept over your makeup! Our Altruist Foundation Powder is a beautiful option. This titanium dioxide free powder instantly creates more radiant and healthy looking skin with weightless, flawless coverage, soothes skin with organic aloe, brightens skin with an algae complex, and provides SPF 15 through the power of pure zinc. Shop Altruist here.


It’s easy to forget to protect our sensitive lips with SPF, but paying attention to ingredients is even more important since it’s so easy for us to accidentally consume! Our Nudist Lip Butters are your beach BFF with SPF 15 broad-spectrum protection to accompany their nontoxic, plant-powered formula! These balmy butters are loaded with rich organic omega oils as well as aloe, to ensure your lips are hydrated and soothed. You can opt for the clear version, or try our Cherry or Nude options for a subtle hint of color. Shop Nudist Lip Butters here.

Bio Booster Serum 

Bonus! Boost your SPF routine with our Our Bio Booster Serum. Loaded powerful, plant-based ingredients like broccoli seed, red raspberry, black cumin and rose hip, this 7-in-1 everything serum fights free radicals, while nourishing and repairing your complexion. Add a few drops to your Bio Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer for added glow. Or, turn our Altruist Foundation is into creamy base by adding two drops of Bio Booster before applying. At the end of a sun filled day, finish your cleansing with a few drops of this powerful serum so your skin can rest good as it prepares for another fun filled summer day!

We want you to enjoy your time in the sunshine, without worrying about whether your sunscreen is causing you more harm than good! Hopefully, this post has been helpful in educating you about toxic SPF ingredients and selecting a clean SPF product that will work for you. Share your commitment to safe sun on Instagram and tag us at @W3LLPEOPLE and #BEW3LL!