Nowadays, the importance of wearing sunscreen is pretty much ingrained in our heads. We want what’s best for our children, so we lather them up with SPF, too. But, have you ever considered what exactly is in your sunscreen? Find out which ones are the safest to use and what you should avoid when shopping for sunscreen.
Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducts a comprehensive study of over 1,400 SPF-rated products, giving parents peace of mind when choosing sunscreen for their families. In their recently released 2013 study, 184 out of the 738 beach & sport sunscreens tested met the EWG’s safety criteria. Let’s take a look at a few of the winners and losers…
Top-rated Safe Sunscreens:
Sunscreens to Avoid:
Tips to consider when buying sunscreen:
- Say NO to spray and loose powder. Not only do spray and powder sunscreens pose dangerous inhalation risks (especially for our young ones!), they also go on unevenly, leading to a greater chance of sunburn.
- Avoid anything higher than SPF 50. EWG has found that an SPF higher than 50 really isn’t any more effective at protecting you from the sun’s harmful rays. Basically, all a high number SPF does is create a false sense of security. On the flip side, don’t waste your time with anything below SPF 15.
- Make sure it doesn’t contain Oxybenzone. The chemical oxybenzone gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. There are studies linking it to several health defects. And the scary part is that nearly half of all beach and sport sunscreens that EWG studied, contain this chemical!
- Make sure it doesn’t contain Retinyl Palmitate. This form of vitamin A has been found to have anti-aging effects, so many companies are putting it in their sunscreens. The problem is that retinyl palmitate on sun-exposed skin may actually speed up the development of skin tumors and lesions.
- Say NO to combined sunscreen/bug repellant. Let’s face it, are bugs really that big of an issue when you’re in direct sun? Since sunscreen should be reapplied regulary, using one that also has bug repellent in it, exposes you to unnecessary amounts of the bug repellent chemicals. Keep the two separate just to be safe.
- Don’t buy sunscreen towelettes. It is questionable whether these products contain enough sunscreen to actually absorb into your skin and protect you. Save your money.
- Steer clear of tanning oils. Some oils may have an SPF level, but it is generally not sufficient enough to actually protect you. Oils promote an increased risk of sunburn and skin damage.