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10 Disturbing Sunscreen Secrets

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3. SPF Doesn’t Always Block UVA Rays
The magic number shown on the bottle refers only to a sunscreen’s ability to block the sunburn-inducing UVB rays, not to be confused with UVA rays, the ones that cause wrinkles and skin cancer (though excessive exposure to both rays can lead to skin cancer). The FDA is considering a set of guidelines that would use a four-star system to rate a sunscreen’s effectiveness against UVA rays. In the meantime, check the ingredients on the bottle for one of these UVA blockers:

Titanium dioxide or zinc oxide: These ingredients are famous for their UVA blockage, and new formulas won’t leave you with a Casper-like film on your face. Try Episencial’s Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35 Water-Resistant Protection for Face and Body.

Avobenzone (a.k.a. Parsol 1789): This common UVA fighter is among the most effective chemical-based blockers. Choose one like MDSolarSciences No Touch Body Spray SPF 40.

Ecamsule (a.k.a. Mexoryl SX): This chemical ingredient is 3.8 times more protective than avobenzone and has long been a staple in European and Canadian sunscreens. It’s now available in a few American blocks, including La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios line and L’Oreal’s Ombrelle line. But it’s not cheap–a 3.4-ounce bottle of La Roche-Posay costs $30 (laroche-posay.us).

4. Sunscreen Expires
If you pull a half-empty, sand-caked tube of last summer’s sunscreen out of your beach bag, check the expiration date before using it. Most sunscreens are designed with specially formulated stabilizers that protect its potency for up to three years, but that’s assuming you didn’t let it bake for days in your backyard. “Leaving sunblock in intense heat for a prolonged amount of time may make it less effective,” says Mitchell Chasin, M.D., medical director of Reflections Center for Skin and Body in New Jersey and fellow of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. So store sunblock in a cool place, and while you’re at the beach, keep it in the shade.

Sunscreen myths busted

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Rodale

Rodale.com is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. Rodale.com focuses on “Where Health Meets Green” topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice.

148 comments

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7:58AM PST on Jan 26, 2014

'FDA last reviewed the safety of sunscreen ingredients in 1978. At that time, it announced plans to develop comprehensive standards for sunscreen safety and effectiveness. More than 30 years later, the agency has yet to publish any standards for sunscreen ingredients. As a result, manufacturers in the U.S. are free to market products containing ingredients that have not been proven safe. When many of the chemicals used in popular sunscreens are exposed to sunlight, reactions occur between the sunscreen’s active and inactive ingredients and the epidermis. Toxic reactions include inflammation, dermalogical effects, allergic reactions and photogenotoxic (DNA altering) effects. Chemical sunscreens have ingredients that actually promote cancer.' See more at: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2012/04/10/you-have-the-right-to-know-17-chemicals-to-avoid-in-cosmetic-and-personal-care-products/#sthash.95TDG062.UAADqU5M.dpuf

3:43AM PDT on Jul 8, 2013

Noted and thank you!!

9:40AM PST on Jan 24, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

9:52PM PDT on Jul 23, 2012

I live in Arizona and it's hot. Even in the winter time, the sun in Arizona is dangerous.

I don't use sun screen. I think it harms the skin.

I eat almonds and carry a golf umbrella that is BBBBIIIIIIIGGGGG!!!! I see women walking along with regular umbrellas and they don't know their arms are hanging out in the sun!

I'm almost 70 and I don't have skin cancer. In fact, in the past, I spent a lot of time in the sun.
I don't have cancer. I use almonds and a HHHUUUGGGEEE umbrella. In the day time it protects me from the sun. At night, it protects me from........no body bothers an old lady with a BIG!!! umbrella as long as I stay in safe areas. lol

12:25AM PDT on May 14, 2012

thanks

6:22PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

All this is very true. Go to EWG.com/Skin Deep and u can see their best rated sunscreens. I use Badger.

9:23AM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

When I was a child, there was NOT much consciousness of the importance of sun protection, and NOT much available in the way of useful sunscreens. (Yeah, OK, there was the dreaded stark white zinc oxide stuff that lifeguards coated their noses with!) So, in fact, much has actually improved in the last several decades. At least now there is a choice of many suncreens, some (unfortunately not all) of which are reasonably efficacious and safe.

5:59AM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

I USE THE ALBA BOTANICA FRAGRANCE FREE AND IT IS WONDERFUL TO USE, PROTECTS MY SKIN AND HELPS KEEP MY FACE YOUNGER LOOKING. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.

11:32AM PDT on Jun 21, 2011

I honestly never thought of the possible harm sunscreen could do... thank you for that!

11:25PM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

Found article very informative. Thanks!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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