Just in time for the start of summer and warm weather season, the Environmental Working Group (one of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ founding organizations) has released its 2011 sunscreen guide.
Of the 600 beach and sports sunscreens analyzed, only one in five made the cut.
Why did the others fail?
Several companies are still using retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that might actually speed the development of skin tumors on sun-exposed skin, as well as hormone disruptors and nanoparticles (a particular concern for spray and powder products), both of which present other potential health threats.
The EWG also recommends people avoid sunscreen sprays because there is concern that the chemicals in the spray can be inhaled.
Best Sunscreens, According to EWG
The EWG recommended sunscreens containing the minerals zinc or titanium as their active ingredient.
Here are the sunscreens on the EWG sunscreen safety top pick list:
- Alba Botanica Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance-Free, SPF 30
- Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block Face Stick SPF 50
- Climb On! Mineral Sunblock SPF 30
- Karen’s Botanicals Simple Sunblock Lotion, Unscented, SPF 30
- Loving Naturals Sunscreen, SPF 30 plus
- Sun Putty Face SPF 30
- Vanicream Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin, SPF 30
None of the recommended sunscreens include chemicals that EWG considers hormone-disrupting, such as oxybenzone. Additionally, none of the recommended sunscreens had retinyl palminate.
Sunscreens that received the Thumbs-Down:
- Hawaiian Tropic Baby Stick Sunscreen SPF 50.
- Baby Blanket SunBlankie Towelette SPF 45+
- Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70+
- Banana Boat Sport Performance Active Max Protect, SPF 110
- Elizabeth Arden–Eight Hour Cream Sun Defense for Face, SPF 50
- Rite Aid Kids Sunscreen Spray Lotion SPF 45
- Anthony Logistics for Men Sun Stick SPF 15
- IS SPF 20 Powder Sunscreen & Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 30 & colorescience Suncanny Face Colore SPF 20
Sun and Sunscreen Safety
Regardless of which sunscreen you choose, keep in mind that sunscreen is only part of a good sun protection program. Covering up with clothing, wearing sunglasses, and avoiding the most potent sun rays at midday are also advised.