The Health Concerns of Modern Sunscreen and the Suncare Industry

The Health Concerns of Modern Sunscreen and the Suncare Industry

Modern American lifestyles have dramatically shifted over the past century, leading to a range of health issues, including limited natural sun resistance. Coupled with the widespread use of chemical-based sunscreens, these changes have created a cycle of dependency that poses significant health concerns. This blog post explores these issues in depth, offering insight into the problems associated with modern suncare practices and the industry's role in perpetuating them.

The Modern American Lifestyle

Today's average American spends approximately 90% of their life indoors. This indoor-centric lifestyle is a stark contrast to the outdoor lives our ancestors engaged in, and it has led to several health problems:

  • Reduced Sun Exposure: Limited time spent outdoors means less natural sun exposure, which is essential for vitamin D production and the development of natural sun resistance.
  • Sedentary Habits: A lack of physical activity further exacerbates health issues, leading to obesity, cardiovascular problems, and weakened immune systems.
  • Skin Vulnerability: Without regular, moderate sun exposure, the skin becomes more susceptible to damage when it encounters the sun, as it has not built up natural resistance.

A Brief History of Modern Sunscreen

The development of modern sunscreen began in the early 20th century, with the primary goal of protecting the skin from sunburn. However, the formulations have evolved significantly over the years:

  • Early Sunscreens: Initially, sunscreens were simple and primarily contained physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which sit on the skin’s surface and reflect UV rays.
  • Chemical Formulations: As the demand for more convenient and aesthetically pleasing products grew, chemical sunscreens were developed. These formulations include ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate, which absorb UV radiation and transform it into heat that the skin releases.
  • Popularity Surge: Chemical sunscreens became popular due to their transparent application and ease of use, leading to widespread adoption.

Issues with Chemical Ingredients

While chemical sunscreens offer convenience, they come with a range of health concerns:

  • Skin Absorption: Unlike physical blockers, chemical ingredients are absorbed into the skin. Studies have shown that these chemicals can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream.
  • Hormonal Disruption: Some chemical ingredients, such as oxybenzone, are known endocrine disruptors, meaning they can interfere with hormone function. This can lead to a variety of health issues, including reproductive problems and developmental disorders.
  • Skin Irritation: Chemical sunscreens can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals, leading to redness, itching, and discomfort.

The Cyclical Nature of Chemical Sunscreens

The use of chemical sunscreens has created a cycle that perpetuates dependency and may harm long-term skin health:

  • Damage and Dependency: Chemical sunscreens can damage the skin’s natural barrier, making it more susceptible to environmental stressors. This damage leads to increased sensitivity and a greater need for sun protection.
  • Preventing Natural Resistance: By blocking all UV exposure, chemical sunscreens prevent the skin from developing its own natural resistance to the sun. This lack of resistance can result in more severe sunburns and damage when sunscreen is not used, creating a dependency on these products.
  • Increased Consumption: As people become reliant on chemical sunscreens to protect their vulnerable skin, they purchase more products, further feeding into the cycle of dependency.


The modern American lifestyle, combined with the prevalent use of chemical sunscreens, has led to a range of health concerns. Limited natural sun exposure weakens the body’s natural defenses, and the absorption of chemical ingredients poses potential health risks. Moreover, the cyclical nature of these products perpetuates dependency, preventing the skin from developing its natural resistance and leading to ongoing consumption of potentially harmful products.

At Daybreak, we advocate for a balanced approach to sun exposure, encouraging the development of natural sun resistance through moderate sun exposure, a healthy diet, and regular physical activity. By making informed choices and using natural sun protection products like our Original Sunbutter, you can break the cycle of dependency and promote overall health and well-being.


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  2. Environmental Working Group (EWG). "Sunscreen Guide."
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  5. Scientific American. "The Benefits of Moderate Sun Exposure."
  6. Kannan, K., and L. Thompson. "Endocrine disruption and environmental exposure to sunscreen chemicals." *Environmental Health Perspectives*, vol. 126, no. 4, 2018, p. 045001.