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If you’ve been following the beauty news lately, we suspect you’ve heard that an independent lab recently found benzene—a known carcinogen—in many household-name sunscreens. 

While we’re delighted to say that our COOLA products were found to NOT contain benzene, we know that this type of news—along with today’s headlines about J&J’s recall of Neutrogena and Aveeno due to benzene contamination—can be unsettling at best … and at worst, can throw even the most regimented of us off of our regular skincare routine. So before we rethink our suncare habit from top to toe, we wanted to share our perspective on benzene in sunscreens, sunscreen safety in general, and our COOLA approach to sunscreen ingredients. 

Benzene in sunscreen—What’s the deal? 

This news all came about from a study done by Valisure, an independent lab and pharmacy, that found benzene in nearly a third of sunscreens tested. Many of the products found to contain benzene are common names in the beauty realm… common enough, in fact, that they’re probably in most of our makeup bags. (For the full list of Valisure’s benzene-positive sunscreens here.

It’s worth noting that benzene isn’t an ingredient in any of the sunscreens tested (or any sunscreens at all, for that matter)—rather, it’s a byproduct of the manufacturing process that’s often detectable in raw materials derived from petrochemicals and petroleum, and can be found in trace amounts in some synthetic fragrances. 

Are COOLA sunscreens benzene free?  

Let’s not bury the lede: yes! The COOLA sunscreens tested by Valisure were confirmed to not contain benzene. 

COOLA was inspired by the healthy Southern California lifestyle we grew up in, and our desire to create an effective, organic sunscreen that felt nice enough to use every day—we’re believers that clean beauty should feel as good as it is healthy. 

That’s why we’re as conscious about what goes into our products as we are about what we keep out. We follow a strict restricted ingredient list that goes beyond industry standards to exclude over 1400+ questionable or harmful ingredients from all of our formulations. In addition to containing 70% or more organic ingredients, our COOLA formulation standards prohibit the use of synthetic fragrance and petroleum-derived ingredients and only allow the use of natural flavors and EU-allergen free natural fragrances. 

What does the benzene in sunscreen study mean for my sunscreen routine? 

We’ve been in the beauty business long enough to have seen a few different cycles of sunscreen ingredient scares, some more serious than others.

While dermatologists are somewhat divided on exactly how much risk trace amounts of benzene pose in our beauty routine—we’re all exposed to small amounts of benzene in our daily environments, for example—we’d obviously prefer our skincare products without known carcinogens (duh). 

But … we also know that eliminating suncare from our beauty routine altogether poses even more severe health and cancer concerns, not to mention the effects of aging. Luckily for us beauty mavens and sun indulgers, there are plenty of healthy, benzene-free sunscreen options—yes, that includes COOLA!—that can keep your skin glowing all summer long.

For more on our strict ingredient standards, take a look at our standards page—and stock up for dewy, safely protected summer skin with products like our COOLA Peach Blossom Spray.

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Benzene in Sunscreen: The COOLA Approach