This week, Bayer HealthCare, makers of Coppertone Sunscreen, signed a multiyear partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation and the National Women’s Soccer League making this product their official sunscreen.1 The sunscreen will be given as samples at local team games and will also be provided in the locker room of the U.S. Soccer Federation.2 So now, we will have professional soccer players and their spectators slathering on chemicals supposedly to protect their skin. Can you imagine how many more people will have ready access to this SPF 100 sport spray that claims to ‘stay on strong when you sweat’.
According to the Environmental Working Group, (EWG) a non for profit organization involved in testing for the commonly used products, high SPF products require higher concentrations of sun-filtering chemicals than low SPF sunscreens. Some of these ingredients may pose health risks when they penetrate the skin, where they have been linked to tissue damage and potential hormone disruption. Some may trigger allergic skin reactions. At the very least, check your label and make sure to avoid hormone-disrupting oxybenzone. If studies showed that high SPF products were better at reducing skin damage and skin cancer risk, that extra chemical exposure might be justified. But they don’t, so choosing sunscreens with lower concentrations of active ingredients is prudent.3 Also, EWG found that in general, zinc- and titanium-based mineral sunscreens offer stable, lasting protection from UV rays without penetrating the skin the way their chemical counterparts do.4
I propose that athletes respect their bodies and choose a mineral sunscreen, which is not absorbed by the skin and acts as a shield to protect it.
1- Sports Business Journal: https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2015/05/04/Marketing-and-Sponsorship/US-Soccer-Coppertone.aspx
3- Environmental Working Group: http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/whats-wrong-with-high-spf/