FREE GUIDE – 8 Common Endocrine Disruptors at Home & How to Avoid Them

Chemical vs Mineral Sunscreens – what’s the difference?

As you probably know, there are two types of sunscreen: Chemical sunscreens and physical barrier sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV light where physical sunscreens block the rays altogether.

Before we jump in, don’t be afraid to get a little sun as that Vitamin D is important for our health BUT if you’re going to be in the sun for prolonged periods, be sure to choose a safe sunscreen.

Active ingredients in chemical sunscreens and why they are best to avoid:

🚫 Oxybenzone: Also known as BP-3, this is used in over 2/3rds of chemical sunscreens and is a suspected endocrine disruptor that is easily absorbed into the bloodstream. The CDC has measured oxybenzone in the blood of 97% of people tested. It’s also banned in the state of Hawaii due to damage caused to the marine environment.

🚫 Octinoxate: Also banned in Hawaii, this has a molecular weight that is small enough to be absorbed into skin and into the bloodstream and it can build up in fatty tissue. Has shown endocrine disrupting effects as well as reproductive and neurological effects in rodent studies.

🚫 Octinsalate: Systemically absorbed into the body after one use; may cause contact dermatitis and may have endocrine effects according to the EPA.

🚫 Octocrylene: Studies have found that octocrylene causes relatively high rates of skin allergies. It has been linked to aquatic toxicity, with the potential to harm coral health, and is often contaminated with the known carcinogen benzophenone.

🚫 Avobenzone: Research published in April 2019 found that Avobenzone acts as an obesogen and can break down into more toxic elements when exposed to sun and chlorine. Ummm, did they not think we’d be wearing this near sun and chlorine??🤦‍♀️

🚫 Homosalate: A UV filtering ingredient that is another known endocrine disruptor.

✅ Best bet: Go with physical barrier sunscreens with either non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are minerals that sit on the skin and reflect both UVA and UVB rays.

General Tips:

  • When possible, wear sun protection clothing like shirts and hats to reduce the need for sunscreen.
  • If it has both mineral and chemical active ingredients, it’s technically still a chemical sunscreen so choose ones with only zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient.
  • The lower the active ingredient %, the lower the protection. Aim for at least 15-20% zinc oxide as the only active ingredient.
  • Avoid spray-on sunscreens to avoid added risk of inhalation and poor coverage. Sprays were also much more likely to be contaminated with benzene in last year’s sunscreen recalls.
  • Higher SPFs aren’t necessarily more effective and can mislead people into believing they don’t need to apply as often.
  • Watch the inactive ingredients too as they often include phthalates, parabens, ethoxylated ingredients, etc.

Tips to applying mineral sunscreens:

I know a lot of people avoid mineral sunscreens because of the ghostlylook 😆👻. Luckily advances in sunscreen have worked to decrease and sometimes eliminate the white residue but there are some application tips to keep in mind:

🌸 Moisturize before applying sunscreen -if your skin is dry, it will quickly absorb the lotion part of the sunscreen before you can spread the minerals out and you get left with the white cast.

🌸 Rub it between your fingers first – this mixes and warms it up a bit and it goes on better.

🌸Start small – use a little first, rub it in, and then add some more. If you put too much on at first, the lotion will absorb faster than you can spread the minerals.

🌸When you apply, also work with small areas versus one giant area to help you spread the minerals evenly before the lotion gets absorbed.

A note about nano-particles:

The smaller the particle, the more transparency on the skin but the larger the particles, the better the protection so it’s a challenging balancing act. The issue with nano-particles is there are plenty of studies showing they can penetrate the skin and are especially dangerous if inhaled when using spray sunscreens so safest bet it to look for non-nano zinc oxide.


Recommended Sunscreen Brands:

Not sure how Crunchi did it but they created a non-nano zinc oxide facial SPF that goes on without the white residue. That’s my go-to facial sunscreen and here is my full list:

  • Crunchi Sunlight SPF 30
  • ThinkSport
  • Trader Joe’s Mineral Sunscreen stick
  • Badger Sunscreen products
  • All Good
  • Babo
  • California Baby

I link to many of my favorites from my SHOP Page HERE and I help clients choose safer personal care products as part of my Healthy Home consulting package.  To find out more, click HERE.



healthy home

personal care / beauty

children / babies

water purification


Written by Sara Parsons

Hi I’m Sara, a mom and consultant specializing in environmental toxins at home. I would love to work with you and share all that I’ve learned on my journey to lower tox living.