According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), you have a 4 in 5 chance of picking a potentially dangerous sunscreen to wear. The EWG evaluated FDA pending and approved sunscreen ingredients. Many of these ingredients are nano-sized molecules that penetrate the skin barrier affecting organs and hormone receptors. These chemicals may also cause dysfunction in the reproductive, nervous, thyroid and immune systems. Allergies are also known to occur when wearing skin care products with these ingredients.
- About 30% of sunscreens contain retinyl palmitate or retinol. This chemical reacts to sunlight and may cause hyperplasia, skin tumors and create free-radicals that potentially damage DNA.
- Many of the ingredients in sunscreen may release dangerous free radicals into the skin when blocking UV rays.
- Oxybenzone (a synthetic estrogen), the most common active ingredient in sunscreen has been shown to cause allergic reactions and interrupt hormone activity.
- Another dangerous chemical found in sunscreen is Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC). It has been shown to cause hormone disruption, immune dysfunction, and allergic reactions.
What Makes a Good Sunscreen?
Many experts teach that there is no good sunscreen. Some even go as far as to say that wearing sunscreen is dangerous because it blocks the absorption of vitamin D by the body. Many of these individuals blame vitamin D deficiency, not the sun, for most skin cancer cases.
When possible, it is a good idea to avoid wearing sun screen altogether. If you must wear it, sunscreens without dangerous ingredients are ideal. Here is a list for the EWG’s top sunscreens.
Top 10 EWG Recommended Sunscreens
- Wear a hat and long sleeve shirt (by far the best form of sunscreen available).
- Aubrey Organics: Natural Sun Sport Stick Unscented Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Badger: Sunscreen, Unscented, SPF 30+
- Beyond Coastal: Natural Clear, SPF 30
- Climb On!: Mineral Sunblock, SPF 30
- Doctor T’s Supergoop!: Quickstick, SPF 30
- Elemental Herbs: Sunscreen Sport, SPF 20
- Esse: Sunscreen, SPF 25
- GLACIER CRÈME: Glacier Creme Naked Protection, SPF 30+
- Kabana Skin Care: Green Screen Organic Sunscreen Fragrance Free, SPF 20
The best practice, according to many industry experts, is to get some direct sunlight on your skin daily. Try to stay out for manageable periods of time that will not get you burned. If you will be out for a prolonged period of time, wear clothes that keep your skin covered to avoid harsh burns. Finally, if you must, choose your sunscreen carefully and check out EWG for the latest in sunscreen products, research, dangerous ingredients and healthy tips.