4 Tips for Safer Sunscreen

By Experience Life

While recent research shows that a little sun exposure each day may benefit your health, most experts suggest that you protect yourself if you plan to spend long stretches in the sun.

The problem is, many sunscreen products contain harmful chemicals, and some are not as effective as they seem, says Sonya Lunder, MPH, a senior analyst at the Washington, D.C.–based Environmental Working Group. To help you find a good sunscreen, Lunder offers this advice:

  • Beware a “50+” SPF. According to the FDA, no reliable research has shown that sun protection factors above 50 offer significantly better protection than those with a 50 SPF value. Such super-high-SPF products can lull you into a false sense of security.
  • Look for UVA protection on the label. Almost all sunscreens are great at blocking sunburn-causing UVB rays. But for protection against the far more damaging UVA rays, which can cause malignant melanoma (the most deadly form of skin cancer), choose mineral-based sunscreens rather than their chemical counterparts.
  • Avoid spray or powder sunscreens with titanium dioxide. Mineral-based sunscreens often contain titanium dioxide, which is considered potentially carcinogenic if it reaches the bloodstream. Because spray and powder sunscreens are more easily inhaled (and, hence, more directly accessible to the bloodstream), opt for lotions, which are considered safer, when choosing a mineral-based option.
  • Avoid oxybenzone. Stay away from sunscreens that contain this active ingredient, which has been linked to allergic reactions and potential hormone disruption. It is particularly harmful for children and has been linked to low infant birth weight.

If you want to see how the prod­ucts you already have in your cabinet stack up, visit the EWG Sunscreen Guide.

 

Related:
What’s Your Sun Safety IQ? (Quiz)
Sunscreen Ingredients May Increase Skin Cancer Risk
New Sunscreen Regulations from the FDA

70 comments

Jo S.
Jo S.10 months ago

Thank you Molly.

Jo S.
Jo S.11 months ago

Thank you.

Sienna Joy
Past Member 2 years ago

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. The list of chemical sunscreen ingredients proven to be carcinogenic will astound you. 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

Maria Barbosa
María Barbosa3 years ago

thanks

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby3 years ago

thank you

Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago

Thanks

Karyl Wood
Karyl Wood4 years ago

I've found that any product with an SPF of 15-30 is sufficient for my needs.

Adam K.
Douglas K.4 years ago

eating raw plants also helps grow a strong body in all tissues of the body.

Adam K.
Douglas K.4 years ago

I never wear sunscreen. not only this, but it is better never to wear glasses so as to let the natural sunlight enter the iris of the eyes without being filtered at all, nor by any glass automotive or indoor. ( of course never look directly into sun because it'll blind you)

Adam K.
Douglas K.4 years ago

There are lectures that show that sunscreen doesn't do what it says it is supposed to do, and that it is ineffective. I think it is uctv.tv that has these lectures, if you look up vitamin D. something like it filters out the uv-b rays which produce vitamin D in the skin, but the harmful uv-a rays it doesn't filter out.