Sunscreen Toxicity

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October 15, 2000 | 30,342 views

MarkHenderson, Science Correspondent

TheSunday Times (London)

The main chemical used in sun lotions tofilter out ultraviolet light may be TOXIC, particularly when exposedto sunshine.

Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC), which is present in 90 per cent ofsunscreen brands, was found to kill mouse cells even at low dosesin a study by Norwegian scientists.

It is not certain that the effects on mice are repeated in humanbeings, although the findings reported in New Scientist magazinesuggest that human cells could be damaged if a sunscreen containingOMC penetrates the outer layer of dead skin and comes into contactwith living tissue.

Terje Christensen, a biophysicist from the Norwegian RadiationProtection Authority, near Oslo, said her research showed that sunscreensshould be treated with caution, and used only when it was impracticalto stay indoors or to shield the skin from the sun with clothes.

The chemical is used as a filter for the more harmful UVB light.In Dr Christensen's study, mouse tissue grown in culture was treatedwith a solution of OMC at five parts per million - a much lowerconcentration than in sunscreens. Half the cells treated with OMCdied, compared with fewer than 10 per cent in a control experiment.

When researchers shone a lamp for two hours to simulate midday sunshine,more cells died. Dr Christensen suggested that the reaction betweenOMC and sunlight created an effect that was twice as toxic as thechemical alone.

The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association, which representssunscreen manufacturers in Britain, said that OMC "has beenthoroughly tested for safety" and was approved by regulatoryauthorities in Europe and the US.


We ALL need sunshine to stay healthy. It is one of the essentialingredients for staying healthy. It is not the perniciously evilitem that traditional medicine suggests that it is.

That does not mean that we should all go out and get sunburned.That should be avoided as it is likely to lead to an increase inskin cancer. However, prudent exposure to the sun, integrating thelistening to your body concept, will not.

Adding sun screens is NOT a goodway to limit your sun exposure. Staying out of the sun early onin the season and limiting your exposure until your system adjustsby increasing melanin pigmentation in your skin is.

Additionally, consuming many whole vegetables will increaseantioxidant levels in the body which will also provide protectionagainst any sun induced radiation damage.

So the bottom line is to avoid the sun screens. They are notnecessary and will actually increaseyour risk of disease.

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