6 Shocking Ingredients To Avoid When Choosing A Sunscreen

Wearing SPF is one of the most important things you can do to protect your skin against UV rays and prevent skin cancer. That said, even the best sunscreens don’t work for every skin type and can be harmful in some cases. To protect your skin, this article covers 6 ingredients you should avoid when sunscreen shopping.

Retinyl Palmitate

Retinyl palmitate is a type of vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant. However, this vitamin can potentially increase the risk of skin cancer when exposed to sunlight. According to animal studies, the ingredient forms free radicals when exposed to sunlight.


At adequate levels, specific chemical UV filters, namely oxybenzone, and octinoxate, have been discovered to contribute to coral bleaching and negatively affect coral reefs. Alternatively, reef-safe sunscreens contain mineral blockers such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

In 2014, oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3) was awarded the allergen of the year. It is also the most common sunscreen ingredient known to result in photoallergic contact dermatitis.


Avobenzone is an ingredient that is destabilized upon light exposure. As such, it is regularly coupled with other ingredients to sustain its effectiveness in protecting skin from UV radiation. However, it has been reported as a potential cause of allergic contact dermatitis.

If you already have a sunscreen that contains avobenzone, there are still ways to use it safely. For instance, it should only be used alongside another filter to stabilize it; else, it could be irritating.


Methylisothiazolinone is an ingredient that appears in multiple skincare products due to its effectiveness as a preservative. While it safeguards the shelf-life of certain products, it is not suitable for skin application. This is because it can cause allergic reactions in individuals with sensitive skin.


Homosalate is a commonly used chemical in sunscreens and other skin care products containing SPF. However, it is potentially an endocrine disruptor connected to hormone disruption and skin allergies.


If you have sensitive skin, it is essential to choose sunscreen without fragrance, as this can be a common allergen. Alternatively, you can use mineral-based sunscreen over chemical sunscreen (chemical sunscreens are also possible allergens.)


It’s common knowledge that wearing sunscreen is the best skincare tip you can find. However, it is essential to find the one that works for you. Avoiding the ingredients we have covered, you can choose better sunscreen products and protect your skin.