Benzene is a harmful chemical ingredient that could be hidden in your household products, like sunscreen. So before you grab the bottle that’s in your cabinet, take a look.

Here, you’ll discover what benzene is, its dangers, and where you can find it. Babo Botanicals tells you all you need to know about benzene and how to spot a safe, effective sunscreen for you and your family!

What Is Benzene?

Benzene is a chemical that can be found in nature (formed from natural processes, like volcanoes and forest fires) and manufactured products.

It’s a colorless, flammable liquid that has a sweet smell and can quickly evaporate. It’s also among the 20 most used chemicals in the U.S. 

It’s typically used in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Benzene is often used to make other chemicals that are needed to make plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers. It can also be used to make certain types of rubbers, dyes, detergents, and lubricants. But the main use of benzene is to make crude oil, which is used to make fuels for all sorts of vehicles. 

Ways You Can Be Exposed To Benzene

You will, at some point, be exposed to benzene. A few general ways you can be exposed are through the air, through direct exposure, in the workplace, or even within your community.

A few specific ways include breathing in the exhaust from someone’s car, smelling the gasoline at the gas station while filling up your tank, or standing next to someone smoking a cigarette.

Let’s break this down a little bit more.

Through The Air

Since benzene is a chemical, flammable liquid that can easily evaporate, chances are you’ve breathed it in before.

For example, have you pulled into the gas station to fill up your tank and gotten an overwhelming scent of gas? Or what about opening up a can of paint thinners, strong adhesives (glue), or hard cleaning products? Have you ever been around cigarette smoke?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’ve breathed in benzene. Yikes!

Through The Skin

Sometimes accidents happen. They’re inevitable, really — like when you accidentally knock over the gas can or get some cleaning product on your hand.

In these cases, your skin has been directly exposed to benzene. But the good news is that only in extreme cases will the benzene fully absorb into your skin.

On The Job

If you work at a chemical plant, oil refinery, manufacturing plant, or gasoline refinery, exposure to benzene might be a daily occurrence. Also, lab workers, firefighters, and gas station employees may come into contact with benzene regularly.

Other possible products you may find benzene in at work are:

  • Glues
  • Adhesives
  • Cleaning products
  • Paint thinners

Now, this isn’t to say that you need to run to the emergency room right away after being exposed to benzene in any of these ways. What we are here to say is: Be cautious of your surroundings and the products you have in your home.

While you may not be able to eliminate your benzene exposure completely, you can take steps to minimize it.

(Note: Call Poison Control right away if you have any concerns or if you or someone you know has directly ingested a product with benzene.)

Dangers Of Benzene

Just like any chemical, benzene is very dangerous. It’s linked to cancer, among other health concerns.

Short-Term Effects Of Benzene

There are many short-term and long-term effects of using benzene, which is why it’s so crucial to use a sunscreen without benzene in it. Benzene can affect you differently depending on how you come in contact with it.

Some of the short-term effects of breathing in benzene include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate

Consuming benzene can cause the following short-term effects:

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Convulsions
  • Rapid heart rate

If benzene comes in contact with your skin, it can cause:

  • Irritation of your eyes, skin, and throat
  • Redness
  • Blisters 

Long-Term Effects Of Benzene

Long-term exposure to benzene (like if you work in a factory for years) causes long-term effects.  The main area it affects is your blood, but some of the others long-term effects of benzene include:

  • Harmful to bone marrow
  • Decrease of red blood cells
  • Anemia
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Immune system deficiencies
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Decreased size of ovaries
  • Cancer, specifically leukemia 

Benefits Of Using Sunscreen Without Benzene

As you’ve discovered by now, benzene is a dangerous chemical that can wreak havoc on your body. Traces of this chemical have recently been found in some sunscreens.

Benzene isn’t an ingredient in these products; rather, it was present due to contamination during the manufacturing process. That means you can’t avoid benzene simply by looking at the ingredients list (although that’s the best place to start when searching for safe sunscreen!).

Benzene is a type of carcinogen, which you definitely want to avoid putting on your skin or inhaling. Getting exposed to benzene can pose various side effects, like headaches, confusion, and drowsiness. But consistent, repeated use of benzene sunscreen can put you at risk of more serious complications, like blood cancer. 

This is why it’s so crucial to use safe sunscreen without benzene in it. Sunscreens without benzene are much better for your skin and still provide excellent sun protection. They just won’t put you at risk of any dangerous side effects.

So, how can you know for sure your sunscreen is safe? Let’s take a look!

How Do You Find Sunscreen That’s Benzene-Free?

Before you can decide whether a sunscreen product is safe for your family, you need to know the difference between the two main types: mineral (or physical) and chemical.

Mineral sunscreens are made with natural ingredients, while chemical sunscreens are made with chemical ingredients.

Zinc and titanium oxide are examples of physical barriers used in mineral sunscreens. They reflect the sun’s UV rays and bounce them away from your skin.

Oxybenzone and octinoxate are examples of chemical absorbers found in chemical sunscreens. They absorb the sun’s UV rays, simultaneously absorbing into your skin.

(Check out our article Mineral Vs. Chemical Sunscreen: What You Need To Know To Protect Your Family to learn more.)

We can’t stress enough how important it is to choose your sunscreen (and other skincare products) wisely. Stay cautious, and make sure to read all the labels!

With so many options on the sunscreen market, it can be hard to know which products are working for you and which ones are working against you. Some have even been known to harm the environment, including the coral reefs.

Does this mean you should rid yourself of sunscreen altogether? Absolutely not! It just means that you need to find a mineral sunscreen with the right ingredients that are tested and proven safe for you and the environment.

We think we have just what you’re looking for! Our Sheer Mineral Sunscreen Spray, SPF 50 is kid- and reef-safe!

Our hypoallergenic formula uses organic aloe vera and calendula to moisturize and soothe your family’s skin while protecting it from the sun. What’s more, it’s made with the 100% mineral ingredients non-nano zinc oxide and titanium oxide, leaving oxybenzone and octinoxate behind.

To dive even deeper into choosing a safe and effective sunscreen, keep reading and find out what to look for and what to avoid when shopping for sun protection.

What To Look For

Natural, organic ingredients are key when it comes to safe sunscreens! These are ingredients that have been grown from the ground, not processed in a factory.

Your sunscreen should also be thoroughly tested and certified. All Babo Botanicals products are clinically tested hypoallergenic and allergy-tested. As far as certification goes, the B Corp certification is one you want to keep an eye out for on your products.

According to B Corp, “Certifying as a B Corporation goes beyond product- or service-level certification. B Corp Certification is the only certification that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance.”

If a product has the B Corp certification, it means that the company is working for the good of the people and the environment.

When it comes to your family, especially your baby, it’s important to choose products that are both natural and thoroughly tested, meaning they are less likely to cause irritation or an allergic reaction.

With that in mind, we created sunscreen just for your baby! Our Baby Skin Mineral Sunscreen - SPF 50 can be used on your baby’s face and body. It’s made with 100% non-nano zinc oxide and is fragrance-free. And we can’t leave out that it’s B Corp Certified!

What To Avoid

As far as ingredients you want to avoid, here are a few:

  • Sulfates
  • Parabens
  • Phthalates
  • Formaldehyde
  • Oxybenzone
  • Octinoxate

With this list in hand, take a look at the ingredients list (and the expiration date) of the sunscreen currently in your cabinet. If you notice any of the above ingredients or if the sunscreen is expired, toss it out and begin a new search.

Babo Botanicals sun care list is a great place to look!

Benzene-Free Sunscreen: FAQs

Here are some helpful FAQs so that you can choose the best benzene-free sunscreen for you and your family. 

Do All Sunscreens Have Benzene In Them?

No, not all sunscreens have benzene in them. There are plenty of sunscreens that do not contain a trace of benzene in them, like all of Babo Botanicals sunscreen products. You want to choose a sunscreen that is made with natural ingredients, like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These ingredients will not irritate your skin, disrupt your hormones, or pose any dangerous side effects. 

It’s also important to be aware of what sunscreens have benzene in them so that you can be sure to avoid them. If you’re not sure what sunscreen to use, you can check out the EWG sunscreen guide which tells you what the best and safest sunscreens are.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Sunscreen Without Benzene?

There are many benefits of using sunscreen without benzene in it, such as:

  • Won’t cause irritation: Sunscreens without benzene are much less likely to irritate your skin, eyes, and lungs because they’re usually made with natural ingredients that are safe to inhale.
  • Doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients: You don’t want to put a product on your skin that contains toxic ingredients, which is why it’s so important to use sunscreen without benzene. ou should opt for a mineral sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, instead of benzene.
  • Better for your overall well-being: Whether you’re using sunscreen for yourself or for your whole family, you want to choose something that is safe to use. Benzene-free sunscreen is better for your overall well-being because it doesn’t contain any dangerous ingredients that could put you and your family at risk.
  • Environmentally-friendly: A lot of sunscreens contain ingredients that are harmful to the coral reefs, but most benzene-free sunscreens are made with environmentally-friendly ingredients. 

Which Sunscreen Does Not Contain Benzene? 

Babo Botanicals has various benzene-free sunscreen products that are safe to use for the whole family, such as:

These are just some of the many benzene-free sunscreens that you can find on Babo Botanicals. Out of an abundance of precaution we went ahead to independently test Babo Botanicals sunscreens and we can confirm that all Babo Botanicals sunscreens are Benzene free based on these independent tests. Please check out our sunscreens here.

Keeping Your Home And Family Safe

Benzene is a dangerous chemical found in manufacturing plants, your community, and even in your sunscreen. It’s been linked to cancer, leukemia, anemia, and other short- and long-term effects.

Keep your home and your family safe by making sure the brands you choose to buy from have testing and safety measures in place to keep harmful chemicals, like benzene, from sneaking into their products.

This is especially important for skincare products, including sunscreen! Look for organic or natural ingredients in your sunscreen, and avoid harsh chemicals, like oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Your best bet is to choose mineral sunscreens made with non-nano zinc oxide that are not only safe for you but also for the environment. Babo Botanicals offers safe, certified sunscreens. Find the one that meets your family’s needs and feel comfortable having fun in the sun!