Homosalate: What Is it and Is It Safe in Sunscreen?

Flip over a bottle of chemical sunscreen and you’ll likely see homosalate listed as one of the active ingredients. Nearly 45-percent of all sunscreens in the United States contain it, yet homosalate is a hormone disruptor for men and women! This means it messes with your endocrine system—the system responsible for regulating all the activity of your cells and organs. Your endocrine system doesn’t know what to do with the chemicals, so it just assigns them a task. In the case of homosalate, it gets the job of estrogen, androgen or progesterone.[i] Doesn’t everyone want pseudo hormones tagging along with them in the sun? No thanks!

Homosalate breaks down in the sun

Speaking of sun, homosalate protects people from sunburns by filtering the UV rays. Isn’t it a little strange that the sun causes homosalate to break down into harmful byproducts?[ii] This is sounding less and less like a day at the beach!

Homosalate enhances skin absorption

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) gives homosalate a four. That is considered a moderate hazard, but these things add up. Think about food. Many people have concerns over what they eat—and they should! Food has a direct route to your body and your organs, but your skin is your body’s largest organ. It doesn’t get any more direct than that! It’s true that the skin offers protection—that is its purpose—but these chemicals are readily absorbed through the skin, bypassing all that protection. Once they’re absorbed, they enter the blood stream without being metabolized by the liver. A study showed the estrogenic effect of these chemicals can be up to three times stronger after topical application than with oral exposure.[iii]

What else is wrong with homosalate?

The skin is supposed to protect your body, right? That rule doesn’t appear to apply to homosalate. Homosalate and other similar chemicals seem to know the secret password to get past your skin’s guards. Once in, it goes straight to your blood stream. What’s worse is that homosalate’s invitation has a plus-one. It can take other toxins, like pesticides, in with it![iv]

How Do You Avoid Homosalate?

It’s easy! Only chemical sunscreens and skincare products with sun protection, like lip balms or makeup, contain homosalate. To avoid it, simply look for the natural minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide—and only zinc and titanium—in the active ingredients. Certified-organic sunscreens like Goddess Garden’s do not contain homosalate or any other chemical sunscreens. We think hormone look-a-likes and toxic chemicals don’t deserve a place in the sun—or in our bodies!

Shop Homosalate-Free Sunscreen

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[i] http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/homosalate/

[ii] https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702867/HOMOSALATE/

[iii] Klimova, et al. (2013). “Current problems in the use of organic UV filters to protect skin from excessive sun exposure” (PDF). Acta Chimica Slovaca6 (1): 82–88. doi:10.2478/acs-2013-0014

[iv] Brand R, Pike J, Wilson R, Charron A. Sunscreens containing physical UV blockers can increase transdermal absorption of pesticides. Toxicology and Industrial Health, vol. 19, pp 9-16, 2003.

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