Breast Cancer and UV Filters

You shouldn't have to choose between skin cancer and breast cancer.

I started taking suncare seriously in my late twenties after a close friend was diagnosed with cancer. What does sunscreen have to do with breast cancer? Research has found that many sunscreens contain chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body, disrupt the endocrine system, and can play a significant role in breast cancer development. Next week we're teaming up with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) at our flagship store in Madison, CT (Thursday, July 12 from 12-5pm) for our 3rd annual charity event - Safe Fun in the Sun Lemonade Stand. Before you buy, get the facts on UV filters. 
Ultraviolet filters, or UV filters, are chemicals that are able to screen out UV-A and UV-B rays from the sun. These chemicals are added to products to help provide protection against harmful ultraviolet rays and reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. Common UV filters include benzophenone, oxybenzone, homosalate, octinoxate and PABA. 
Many chemicals used as UV filters in personal care products can mimic estrogen in the human body, and are considered to be endocrine disruptors. Some of these chemicals have been shown in laboratory studies to increase the growth and proliferation of breast cancer cells. 
Anyone who uses sunscreen or personal care products is likely to be exposed to UV filters. 
The best way to reduce exposure to UV filters is to read labels on sunscreens, cosmetics and other personal care products to avoid purchasing those that list chemical UV filters. Keep an eye out for octinoxate, octyl methoxycinnamate, benzophenone, oxybenzone, and PABA.
  • Choose sunscreens that use sun-blocking compounds derived from minerals, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, in a non-inhablable form. 
  • Avoid purchasing lipsticks, hair products, nail polish, and other personal care products that list chemical UV filters such as octinoxate or octyl menthoxycinnamate (OMC). 
  • When spending long periods of time in the sun, use good sun sense. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, lightweight long sleeves and pants, and apply a mineral-based sunblock liberally and frequently. 

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