Your sunscreen could weaken your sperm. In fact, 45% of Common Sunscreen Ingredients Mess With Sperm

Study: "Some sunscreen ingredients may disrupt sperm cell function." (Skakkebaek et. al, 2016)

Original Article: ScienceAlert

“Fertility rates have fallen worldwide over the last 50 years and chemicals found in everyday products are thought to be playing a role – including those in your sunscreen. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen found that filters commonly used in sunscreens to absorb ultraviolet light could affect male fertility by stopping sperm from functioning properly.” (CNN)


Study Background

"The Danish team decided to test 29 of the 31 UV filters approved for use in sunscreen in the US and the European Union on live, healthy, donated sperm cells in the lab." (ScienceAlert)


"The cells were tested in a buffer solution that mimicked the conditions in female fallopian tubes. The researchers were looking at how the UV filters affected calcium signalling, which is a pathway that's essential for sperm cells to be able to swim healthily." (ScienceAlert)


Findings

“Researchers have found that 13 out of 29 UV filters (almost half) used in sunscreens in the US and Europe can disrupt the function of human sperm cells - with some even mimicking the effect of the female hormone progesterone, and messing with sperm mobility.” (ScienceAlert)


Considerations

“Before you throw away all of your SPF and swear off the stuff, know that more research is needed to confirm a link between human fertility and sunscreen chemicals.” (MensJournal)

“These results are of concern and might explain in part why unexplained infertility is so prevalent” (Niels Skakkebaek)

"So far, the UV filters have only been tested in human sperm cells in the lab, and not in live males, so there's no need to freak out, but it's a link that's worth investigating further." (ScienceAlert)


Recommendations


Look for MINERAL sunscreens with “zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are minerals found naturally in the environment, according to the Wall Street Journal.


Brands:

  • Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion SPF 60

  • MD Solar Sciences Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 40

  • Beyond Coastal Natural Sunscreen SPF 30

  • Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream SPF 35

  • Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30

  • Farmacy Green Screen Daily Environmental Protector Broad Spectrum MineralSunscreen SPF 30 With Echinacea GreenEnvy

  • Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF50+


From Byrdie, AVOID ingredients:

  • Oxybenzone (the most troubling ingredient, especially for hormones)

  • Octinoxate (troubling for hormones and thyroid)

  • Retinyl Palmitate (can cause cancer)

  • Avobenzone (causes irritation)


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