The word “SPF” is pretty much ingrained in us at this point, right? We make sure that it’s in our moisturizer and foundation, and wear it by itself in large quantities for pool and beach days during the summer. We do it without thinking to protect ourselves. New research weighs in that our favorite SPF might be protecting our skin from the sun, but also lowering men’s fertility.
Yup, the University of Copenhagen found that many commonly used sunscreen filters (the active sun-protection ingredient in your sunscreen) are decreasing men’s sperm count. Pretty scary stuff and definitely something to discuss with your partner if you’re trying to get pregnant.
How does this actually happen? Doctor Alan B. Copperman, MD, director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Mount Sinai Hospital and medical director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York explained, “some UV filtering sunscreens mimic the effect of progesterone by activating a calcium ion channel, which could in theory interfere with sperm function.”
It all boils down to reading those labels! Look for these terms: avobenzone, homosalate, octyl salicylate, and oxybenzone (BP-3) and avoid purchasing brands that lists them as an ingredient. Opt for mineral based sunscreens that use filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide instead.