Last week I went to my trusty Biocoop store and purchased what looked like a perfectly safe sunscreen for the family: German organic brand Lavera’s “Sun” range for children, with 25 IP/SPF. No parabens, no synthetic sunblockers – what’s more the product claims that it is effective immediately as well as water resistant. But guess what? It has nanoparticles. Many sunscreen manufacturers are adding nanoparticles to their products to make sunblocking products like titanium oxide and zinc oxide rub on clear instead of white. Friends of the Earth warns in a report that these nanoparticles are being added without appropriate labeling or reliable safety information.
“Nanoparticles can potentially wreak havoc on our health if absorbed through the skin. Unlike larger particles, nanoparticles can enter vital organs, tissues and even our bodies’ cells.”
The jury is still out on how readily and deeply nanoparticles penetrate skin. So does that mean it is safe for anyone without any open wounds to use these sunscreens? Think again: “the presence of acne, eczema or shaving wounds is likely to enable the uptake of nanoparticles,” the report warns. Also, don’t forget that children have thinner skin than adults. What to do? The report lists nine brands of sunscreen as being nano-free. I have never seen any of these products in any of the stores I frequent. Back to parabens?