How to Know If Your Sunscreen Is Safe

In Articles, Mind, Body, Health by Lori Hill0 Comments

How Can Sunscreen Be Unsafe?

“How can my sunscreen be unsafe?” you ask. “It’s meant to protect me from the sun!” Sadly, the U.S. government doesn’t regulate personal care products, so the prevalence of toxic ingredients in our personal care products is shockingly widespread.

So how do you know if your sunscreen is safe? I use two different apps to get two different opinions: Think Dirty® app and the Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Living App.

Both apps enable you to scan the barcode on your product so that you can check the product’s overall rating and individual rating on things such as:


A carcinogen is a substance or agent causing cancer, so carcinogenicity is the level or amount that substance contributes to cancer.

Developmental Toxicity

With respect to humans, developmental toxicity is the level of adverse effects on the development of our bodies resulting from exposure to toxic agents before conception (either parent), during prenatal development, or post-natally until puberty.

Reproductive Toxicity

A hazard associated with some chemical substances that they will interfere in some way with normal reproduction. It includes adverse effects on sexual function and fertility in adult males and females, as well as developmental toxicity in the offspring.


An allergen is a substance or property, such as pollen, that causes an allergic reaction. Allergenicity is the level or amount a substance contributes to an allergy.


Adverse effects on the functioning of the immune system that result from exposure to chemical substances.

Sources: Webster’s online, Wikipedia, Your Dictionary, Good Guide

Other Resources

There are tens of thousands of personal care products on the market, so everything you buy — or attempt to buy — may not be listed on these apps. If it is not listed, THINK DIRTY lets you submit information about the product. The app captures the UPC code and you enter in the name of the product and submit images of the front and back. It only takes a few seconds (or about a minute for me since I’m a little slow). The Healthy Living App encourages you to check back soon since they are always adding new products.

Makeup Artist Essentials has an extensive list of the types of ingredients included in beauty products, what the scary ones are, and the names of companies that don’t use the scary ingredients.

Another great resource is The Never List™  from Beautycounter  which is made up of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that they never use as ingredients in their products. This includes the over 1,400 chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union, plus additional chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern. Yes, the EU cares about our health, but not the United States!

If your product is not listed on one of the apps, check the ingredients against The Never List. Here is a shortened version to carry with you.

Final Thoughts

Before you buy any products, check out how safe they are with one — or both — of these apps or The Never List! Also, be sure to test the products you already have in your home.

Lori Hill

Lori Hill

Lori Hill is a plant eater, trash picker upper, climate activist, wife, and mom to 2 human boys, 2 cat boys, and 1 dog boy. On a mission to do all she can to take better care of the planet, Lori created Sister Eden Media, a green lifestyle company, to inspire others to give a damn and live more gently on Earth. She shares tips on her YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and also frequently appears on television.
Lori Hill

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