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The skincare world has found itself in the midst of a controversy yet again. Just recently, a study has found that 70% of popular dry shampoos contain a toxic chemical called benzene — yes, the same chemical that was also detected in spray sunscreens and deodorants. So we’re setting the record straight. What is benzene? Is benzene toxic? Should we be worried about benzene in sunscreen? 

Benzene in sunscreen and personal care products

Benzene is a colorless, highly flammable petroleum-derived chemical that evaporates when exposed to air. Is benzene a carcinogen? According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, yes. This toxic chemical can cause leukemia, bone marrow cancer, blood disorders, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, among other illnesses. The benzene cancer link is clear, and there is simply no safe level of human exposure to benzene, especially if people are exposed for long periods of time. 

This makes it all the more alarming how common benzene is in our everyday products. Valisure, the laboratory that conducted the studies, has found the cancer-causing chemical in several everyday products — from hand sanitizers and antifungal treatments, to conditioners and antiperspirants. 

Because of this, there was a benzene recall list that led to manufacturers and retailers pulling a handful of brand label sunscreens from shelves in 2021. With more shocking studies coming to light, a dry shampoo recall is now being issued to prevent the spread. But as of writing, the products mentioned in the recent study remain in stores. This puts the burden on consumers to find out for themselves what has benzene in it. 

What is benzene used for anyway?

We know the answer to why is benzene bad, but what is it doing in products in the first place? Now, companies don’t actively add benzene as an ingredient. Scientists hypothesize that it’s more of a contamination issue with other petroleum-derived ingredients like spray propellants or thickening agents. 

This explains why the highest levels of benzene have been found in aerosol products. Additionally, benzene toxicity may also be from ethanol produced without enough purity control. Whatever the true reason, it’s simply not worth the health risk of using products with benzene. 

Keeping everyday products safe 

At this point, you’re definitely wondering: is dry shampoo safe? Is sunscreen safe? Does benzene free sunscreen even exist? 

At Everyday Humans, we uphold the highest standards for safety and transparency. Each ingredient we use is rigorously screened for non-toxicity and efficacy, and all our facilities have comprehensive anti-contamination procedures in place. On top of this, we actively avoid controversial ingredients like oxybenzone and octinoxate, and we are always keeping up to date with research findings on human and environmental safety. We’re also proudly Hawaii Act 104 reef-compliant, making our sunscreen safe for ocean too.

We hope that puts your worries to rest! 

Shop your SPF essentials now on Everyday Humans.

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