Your Sunscreen May Not Be As Safe As You Think

The sun is back. Winter has released its grasp and we can reemerge, squinting, out into the daylight. As you begin to spend more time outdoors, you need become more sun-conscious. However, the sun isn’t the only thing you need to be conscious about. Many commercial sunscreens contain toxic ingredients that you are better off avoiding.

The Environmental Working Group has released their 10th annual Sunscreen Guide to make it easier to find healthy, natural sunscreens that will protect you from sun overexposure, while keeping harmful chemicals out of your system. Here are 3 essential tips the EWG offers to make sure your sunscreen is as safe as possible.

Stick to SPF 50 or lower. Sunscreens touting a sun protection factor of 50 or higher may not be significantly more protective than a sunscreen with a lower SPF rating. Unfortunately, many consumers are misled by the SPF claims, which puts them in danger of sun overexposure because they think their sunscreen is significantly more protective. SPF 60 is not twice as protective as SPF 30. It doesn’t work like that. The protective factor increase is minimal and not worth the extra price. Stick to SPF 30 or 45 and reapply regularly for the best protection.

Be cautious about retinyl palmitate. A form of vitamin A often found in sunscreen formulations, retinyl palmitate may actually harm skin. While the Environmental Working Group hasn’t taken a strong stance, they remain concerned about the effects of this vitamin A derivative. While its widespread use has been reduced, this ingredient is still found in 16 percent of commercial sunscreens

Ditch oxybenzone. This is one of the most common UV filters in sunscreens. Along with other UV filters, oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor and an allergen. Because sunscreens include “penetration enhancers,” these chemicals are readily absorbed by our systems and stick around to wreak hormonal havoc, its powerful side effects potentially including reduced fertility. Oxybenzone and friends are also a hugely damaging force in the bleaching and destruction of our coral reefs. Even a drop of the chemicals present in most sunscreens are extremely damaging to precious and delicate coral reef systems. In areas where coral reef habitat is extremely fragile, visitors are  actually encouraged not to wear sunscreen. Remember, the sunscreen you put on your skin ends up somewhere in the environment. Be aware of your and the planet’s health and ditch oxybenzone.

With these tips in mind, it becomes clear that the majority of commercial sunscreens are not terrific for you. What should you do? Firstly, sunscreen shouldn’t be your primary line of defense. You should try to find shade, wear layers and try to avoid lying out when the midday sun is at its most powerful. Sunglasses are also a must. They protect your delicate eyes from UV radiation in a way that sunscreen simply cannot. Check out the EWG’s 2016 guide for more information.

And when you do need sunscreen, opt for a natural, effective brand, such as Elemental Herbs All Good sunscreen or the new, super sustainable makers of sun paste, Manda. Protect your skin, protect the environment and your summer fun in the sun will be the best ever!

Related:
Yes, You Can Do an Eco-Friendly Road Trip
How to Stop Losing Friends
Energize Yourself This Summer by Ditching These 4 Winter Habits 

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Isabel Aabout a month ago

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Ingrid A
Isabel Aabout a month ago

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Paulo R4 months ago

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Paulo R5 months ago

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Paulo R5 months ago

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W. Cabout a year ago

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William Cabout a year ago

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Philippa Powers
Philippa Powers2 years ago

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R2 years ago

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