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Do You Know What’s In Your Sunscreen?

Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good?

Just because summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean you can stop thinking about protecting your skin from the sun. Sure, you might not have to lather it on before a day at the pool or the beach, but good skincare habits are just as important in January as they are in July!

I spoke with Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND at, and outlined the most important insights from the Environmental Working Group’s latest sunscreen report for a story about the hidden dangers of conventional sunscreen I wrote for the StyleSeat blog.

Stop by and take a peek, then come back here so we can chat about your favorite sunscreen! Have more questions about ingredients or skin protection tips? Leave them in the comments and I’ll ask Dr. Wolf to answer them for us!

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Do you worry about nanoparticles?

Mineral makeup is just one type of cosmetic that can contain nanoparticles, which can also be included in cream-based products.

The controversy around nanoparticles has been swirling around for a few years now. If you haven’t heard about it, here’s the gist: Nanoparticles are teeny-tiny particles that have diameters between the size of an atom and a molecule. We’re talking super, super small.

Because of their small size, nanoparticles could potentially be absorbed into your individual cells when you put them on your skin or inhale them when you’re swirling around your mineral makeup.

Like many cosmetics ingredients, there are concerns about the safety of nanoparticles, but there hasn’t been much research done on their potential harmful effects. There doesn’t really appear to be a consensus among scientists. (Check out this post from Andrew Maynard about nanoparticles in sunscreens for an example.)

The problem is, like with many cosmetics ingredients that present potential safety concerns, nanoparticles are already almost everywhere—they first emerged in the cosmetics scene in sunscreens (nanoparticles are really effective at blocking UV rays), but they’re also in many cream- and powder-based makeup products. (Read more about nano-materials in sunscreens from the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreens 2012 report, here.)

Environmental Working Group surveyed more than 25,000 personal care products for its latest Skin Deep Database update, and found widespread use of nanoparticles. (Side note: the FDA estimates there are more than 100,000 cosmetics products on the market.) Not sure if there are nanoparticles in your products? Look for ingredients like “micronized,” “fullerenes,” the prefix “nano,” “quantum dots,” and “liposomes,” which represent nanoparticles.

Personally I haven’t eliminated nanoparticles from my beauty routine—although I do make a point not to inhale as I’m applying mineral makeup (whether or not it contains nanoparticles).

But I’ve been wondering: How many of my fellow natural beauties are taking steps to avoid nanoparticles? Are you? —Aleigh


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