Is Coppertone Sunscreen Safe? Is It Any Good?

Coppertone sunscreen

Coppertone is a sunscreen that was originally concocted for military personnel. As the third most sold sunscreen in the US, it is also branded as high-performance sun wear for the sporting community.

Coppertone is not completely safe as it uses ingredients like Avobenzone, Homosalate, and Octisalate that are harmful to both humans and the planet. This sunscreen is banned on the beaches of Hawaii and Australia. Coppertone does exceed its expectations in terms of SPF but underperforms when it comes to safety standards.

Ingredients of Coppertone sunscreen 

The main actives found in Coppertone are Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, and Octocrylene. These ingredients absorb the UVA and UVB rays from the sun and protect the face from melanoma and free radicals.

Octocrylene is used to increase the effect of Avobenzone, as it is not photo-stable. The sunscreen also contains ingredients like polyester, silica, alcohol, and fragrance.

Coppertone uses ingredients like Isododecane that give a fresh and matte look to the face. Glycerin is used to provide moisture to the skin, but can sometimes cause irritation. Potassium Hydroxide is used to stabilize the pH level and preserve the product. Extracts of sea algae and lotus are used to naturally strengthen the formula. 

Is Coppertone sunscreen bad?

The Coppertone sunscreen prevents the skin from cancer, photoaging, and sunburns. It gives an evenly distributed tan to the body and is reliable when it comes to sun defense. But this does not make the sunscreen safe for you. The formula comes with harmful side effects that outweigh its benefits.

Even when stabilized, Avobenzone degrades when exposed to sunlight and releases cancer-causing free radicals. Octocrylene is dangerous to aquatic health.

The EU does not recommend using sunscreens with over 1.4% of Homosalate. For context, Coppertone has nearly 8% of Homosalate. Octisalate can be absorbed into the skin and is a suspected environmental toxin.

Does Coppertone sunscreen have Benzene?

Coppertone sunscreen does not contain benzene. Benzene is a highly lethal, flammable chemical that is not only toxic to humans but also an active environmental pollutant. It is a widely used industrial chemical that is found in everyday products like detergents, dyes, and adhesives. Benzene is a petroleum derivative and is carcinogenic.

Coppertone voluntarily recalled five of its aerosol sunscreens in 2021 for potentially containing benzene. The brand uses denatured alcohol instead of benzene in its aerosol sunscreens. Benzene is not allowed to be used for cosmetic purposes in the US. Being free from benzene makes the product less harmful. 

Does Coppertone sunscreen have Oxybenzone?

Coppertone sunscreen does not contain Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone comes from a class of aromatic ketones and absorbs UV rays from the sun. Otherwise known as Benzophenone, the chemical is a hormone disruptor for both men and women. It is a hazardous skin and eye irritant which can develop long-term allergies.

Coppertone’s formula replaced Oxybenzone with Avobenzone to be its prime chemical filter. Although Avobenzone is not as risky as Oxybenzone, it is still relatively toxic to the body. Avobenzone can cause skin inflammation and aggravate acne.

Does Coppertone sunscreen have gluten?

No, Coppertone does not contain gluten in its formula. Gluten in skincare products can cause blisters and rashes. The sunscreen contains Vitamin E or Tocopherol that can be derived from wheat germ oil. But, Vitamin E is completely free from gluten and is approved by the FDA to be safe. However, people with celiac sensitivity may find Tocopherol to be mildly allergic.

Does Coppertone sunscreen contain Zinc?

Coppertone has mineral variants of sunscreens that contain zinc oxide. Mineral sunscreens use physical particles like titanium and zinc that form a dense layer on the skin and prevent it from sun damage. Mineral sunscreens are considered to be safer than chemical sunscreens and are actively prescribed by dermatologists.

Zinc is known to have anti-inflammatory properties and maintain the health of the skin. Mineral-based sunscreens are heavier and do not penetrate the skin. They reflect the rays of the sun away from the face instead of absorbing them. Mineral sunscreens are mild on sensitive skin but they form a white cast on the face. 

Does Coppertone sunscreen contain parabens?

Coppertone sunscreens do not contain parabens. Parabens are widely used cosmetic and pharmaceutical preservatives. They tend to increase the shelf life of the products by reducing the growth of bacteria and microbes. Parabens trigger allergic reactions like rashes in people with sensitive skin. 

Parabens can negatively affect reproductive health in humans and increase the risk of cancer. They are known to irritate the skin and make it brittle. Most skincare brands are steering away from this chemical, due to its adverse effects on the body. Coppertone sunscreens are totally free from paraben which makes them safe for application. 

Is Coppertone sunscreen safe for the face?

Coppertone sunscreens are suitable for facial application. But applying Coppertone sunscreen on the face does present some side effects. Alcohols like Behenyl Alcohol and Glyceryl Stearate can permanently dry out the skin. Fragrance in the formula is known to sensitize people with allergies. Substances like Isododecane may be fatal when swallowed or inhaled. The sunscreen contains glycerin that can severely burn the eyes.

Is Coppertone sunscreen safe for babies and toddlers?

Coppertone has sunscreens that are specially formulated for toddlers and babies. Coppertone Pure and Simple kids lotions are best suited for toddlers and kids between the ages of 2 to 12.

The product uses zinc oxide and other natural ingredients to play the main sun protection role. But the variant contains palm and coconut oil derivatives like Caprylyl Glycol and Isopropyl Palmitate that can be comedogenic and allergic to young ones.

Coppertone Pure and Simple Baby sunscreens are meant for babies over 6 months of age. Pure and Simple may be used on newborns between 0 to 6 months, but only after consulting a pediatrician. The product uses plant extracts like lotus, tea, and kelp to provide sun defense to babies. However, it contains Propanediol Copolymer, Polyester, and Sodium Chloride that tend to be harsh on baby skin.

Is Coppertone sunscreen safe during pregnancy?

Coppertone’s mineral sunscreens are generally recommended for expecting mothers. The skin tends to be extra dry during pregnancy and not wearing sunscreen can harm both the mother and the baby. 

Women going outdoors need to wear sunscreen with a broad spectrum ranging from 40- 50 SPF, as per requirement. If you are pregnant, stay away from the chemical and spray variants as they contain alcohol that can leave the skin dry. In any case, consult a physician before going for Coppertone sunscreens.

Is Coppertone sunscreen safe for dogs?

Coppertone sunscreens are not meant for dogs. Sun protection is equally important to pets, but the ingredients need to be customized for animal skin. Human sunscreens contain toxic irritants like fragrance and zinc oxide that can be harmful to dogs. The SPF requirement may also be different for dogs when compared to humans. 

Dogs with less or no fur are more exposed to sun damage and susceptible to sunburn. It is necessary to apply a pet sunscreen on the noses, ears, and bellies of dogs to prevent the skin from burning. Too much sun exposure can also cause heat strokes in dogs. Consult a vet and choose the right pet sunscreen for your dog.

Is Coppertone sunscreen good?

Coppertone sunscreens contain ingredients that are not fit for prolonged application. Potassium Hydroxide carries high levels of occupational hazards and can cause severe burns to the skin. Phenoxyethanol in the formula can result in eye and lung irritation. Silica can be bioaccumulative in nature and toxic to the body. 

The sunscreen formula contains members of the plastic family, like copolymers and polyesters, which are known to bruise the epidermis. The long-term damage caused by ingredients like Homosalate is irreversible. Coppertone spray sunscreens prove to be ineffective during windy days and leave the skin vulnerable. Octisalate may cause allergies and develop rashes in people with sensitive skin.

Does Coppertone sunscreen make you tanned?

No, Coppertone sunscreen does not cause the skin to tan. Sunscreens are used to prevent the skin from tanning and sunburns. Wearing sunscreen does not give you the liberty to enjoy the sun for a very long time. Sunscreens are meant to be reapplied to achieve perpetual sun defense.

Coppertone sunscreens are active for the first 80 minutes of application and need to be reapplied after this. Swimming can also deplete sun protection, so it is more important to opt for a water-resistant formula. Choosing the right SPF as per your needs can prevent the skin from tanning.

Is Coppertone sunscreen good for black skin?

The physical, as well as chemical variants of Coppertone, may leave a white cast on top of the skin. This will deter people with darker complexions from picking Coppertone sunscreens. In terms of protection, Coppertone delivers an equal performance on both light and dark skin tones. The brand does not make tinted sunscreens to provide a smooth, natural finish for people of color. 

Does Coppertone sunscreen clog pores?

Coppertone sunscreens may clog pores and cause bumps on the skin. Water-resistant and oil-based sunscreens of Coppertone may congest the skin and lead to clogging of pores. Coconut and palm derivatives found in Pure and Simple variants can be heavy on the skin and clog the pores. Tocopherols derived from wheat germ oil are also comedogenic in nature. 

Is Coppertone sunscreen good for acne?

Coppertone sunscreens contain ingredients that can develop or worsen acne. The sunscreen is capable of clogging pores and leading to breakouts of acne. Inorganic particles like silica form a layer on the skin allowing acne-causing bacteria to grow. Natural oils and butter like beeswax can make the skin too oily and lead to acne. 

Fatty and denatured alcohols can irritate existing acne and cause dryness around pimples. Plastic particles like polymers are abrasive on the skin and cause acne to bleed. Ingredients like Glucoside contain sugar, which is known to intensify acne. Synthetic fragrance is also not safe for people with acne-prone skin.

But here is something to note – the Coppertone Sunscreen formula contains ingredients like alcohol, as well as beeswax to strike a balance between causing dryness and making skin oily. As such, it should be a good pick for most people. However, your individual experiences may vary. There is no harm in trying the sunscreen for a day or two to see how it works on your skin.

Is Coppertone sunscreen reef safe?

Coppertone sunscreen contains ingredients like Octocrylene that are not safe for marine health. These chemicals can cause coral bleaching and affect the reproductive health of aquatic life. Due to the presence of these chemicals, a wide range of sunscreens including Coppertone are banned on the beaches of Hawaii. 

Nanoparticles of zinc oxide can be toxic to marine life when ingested. Zinc reacts with H2O and sunlight to produce zinc ions which can be carcinogenic to the humans in the water. Sunscreen chemicals like Homosalate are environmental pollutants that are capable of reducing the fish population.

Is Coppertone sunscreen biodegradable?

Coppertone sunscreens are not biodegradable as they contain nonbiodegradable chemicals like Avobenzone. Coppertone sunscreens are not made with eco-friendly ingredients that break down under natural conditions. 

Coppertone contains plastic byproducts like polyesters and cross polymers that do not decompose for a very long time. The sunscreen tubes and bottles are recyclable, lowering their environmental impact. Sunscreens found in landfills have chemicals that can negatively affect the fertility of the soil and plant life. 

Does Coppertone sunscreen have an expiration date?

Yes, Coppertone sunscreens do expire. The sunscreens have varying expiration dates of either 2 or 3 years, depending on their formula. The sunscreen may form lumps and coagulate after its expiration. 

Once expired, the sunscreen is not fit to be used as its ingredients may lose their intended effect. The avobenzone in the sunscreen can lose its stability and produce free radicals that are harmful to health. The chemicals may start to react adversely and become toxic.


Anand Srinivasan
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