Benzene Free Sunscreen: What to Know And How to Find It

Benzene Free Sunscreen: What to Know And How to Find It

What to Know About Benzene Free Sunscreen

You may have seen the news about the recalls of sunscreen due to benzene contamination. First in 2021. Then in 2022. Then there were recalls of hand sanitizer, dry shampoo, and now products containing benzoyl peroxide. So it's very top of mind, and we're sure you're wondering how to avoid benzene, and, at least when it comes to suncare, finding benzene free sunscreen.

What is Benzene?

Benzene, a colorless and flammable liquid with a distinctive sweet odor, evaporates quickly upon air exposure. It originates both from natural events like volcanoes and forest fires and from human activities. As a top chemical used in the U.S., benzene primarily serves in producing various products such as plastics, resins, and drugs, despite reduced use in solvents and gasoline additives recently.

Furthermore, benzene is a component of crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke, underlining its presence in both natural environments and as a byproduct of human industrial and leisure activities.

Why is Benzene In Sunscreen and Other Personal Care Products?

It's important to note that benzene is not an ingredient in sunscreen or any other products. Rather, it is a contaminant that gets into products somewhere in the supply chain or during the manufacturing process. Companies aren't intentionally putting benzene into products, but it's making its way into them. 

Though it's typically detected in such small amounts that it won't harm you, I think it's safe to say that we all would prefer products that don't contain any benzene contamination. At Bask, we screen every product to ensure that all Bask products are benzene free sunscreen. It's not an expensive test, and we have suggested to the FDA and our legislators that benzene screening should be mandatory. 

Are Some Products More Susceptible to Benzene Contamination Than Others? 

The answer is yes. Some products are more susceptible to benzene contamination than others. Spray sunscreens, and other traditionally aerosolized products like dry shampoos are some of them. The reason for this is that the primary aerosolizing agents are petrochemical propellants. Spray sunscreens are made by combining the SPF formula with either propane, butane, or isobutane.

Propane, butane, and isobutane are all components of natural gas and petroleum. During the refining process of crude oil, various fractions are separated out based on their boiling points in a process called fractional distillation. Propane, butane, and isobutane are among these fractions and are collected at different stages of the distillation process.

As discussed, benzene is also a part of this same process. Because of this, spray products and spray sunscreens are inherently more susceptible to benzene contamination.

Does Bask Use Petrochemical Propellants in Its Sprays? 

No! The contamination that stems from the use of butane, isobutane, and propane is not an issue for Bask! We thought it was pretty gross to be combining SPF formulas with the same stuff you use to light a grill. So when we set out to build a spray-format we wanted to create something different. Instead of using petrochemical propellants, we reimagined the spray bottle and developed something we call Bask On Valve (BOV) Technology

In Bask spray, we vacuum-seal the SPF in a bag/bladder and surround it with compressed air like you would put into a bicycle tire. When you press the applicator, the air pushes against the bag, and releases the sunscreen in a light, wide mist. By doing so, we ensure that your SPF formula doesn't have the inherent benzene contamination risk that other spray products have. On top of that, Bask still tests our non-aerosol spray against benzene to make absolutely sure you can enjoy benzene free sunscreen.

You can try our SPF 30 Non-Aerosol Spray and our SPF 50 Non-Aerosol Spray to see the benzene free sunscreen difference.