A few weeks ago I posted on having fun in the sun. I stressed the importance of sun screen to protect your body against UV rays and cancer. Today I will focus on how to choose a sunscreen and why you want to be picky.
Sunscreen Facts to Know:
Did you know that 4 out of 5 sunscreens either don’t adequately protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays or contain harmful chemicals? The SPF rating is only part of what you need to know, since it only tells you about UVB (sunburn) protection.
The Environmental Work Group (the same people who brought us the ‘dirty dozen‘) created a rating system that includes critical information on UVA protection, how stable the product is in the sun, and potential health hazards of ingredients. You will be surprised to know that some popular companies didn’t have ANY sunscreens that made their recommended list.
The Top 10
Here is a list of the EWG’s top 10 sunscreens:
- Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30
- Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+
- California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+
- Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30
- Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum
- Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40
- Vanicream Sunscreen, SPF 35
- UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
- Sun Science Sport Formula, SPF 30
- Soleo Organics Sunscreen all natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
You may not recognize most of these names. In order to help you find some more common brands, here is a list of 10 common sunscreens that the EWG recommends. Pay attention to the particular product because some of the brands only make one safe product:
- Blue Lizard (anything without oxybenzone)
- California Baby (anything with SPF 30+)
- CVS (with zinc oxide)
- Jason Natural Cosmetics (Sunbrellas Mineral Based Sunblock)
- Kiss My Face (“Paraben Free” series)
- Neutrogena (Sensitive Skin Sunblock)
- Olay (Defense Daily UV Moisturizer with zinc)
- SkinCeuticals (Physical UV Defense)
- Solar Sense (Clear Zinc for Face)
- Walgreens (Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose, & Ears)
Who DIDN’T Make the List:
In case you’re interested in which brands didn’t have any sunscreens that made the recommended list, here are a few:
- Banana Boat
- Bull Frog
- Cover Girl
- Hawaiian Tropic
- Paradise Gold
I found this particularly interesting because many of these brands are the ones that are found in the displays at the grocery or drug stores.
How to Choose:
For those who are interested, you can read the ingredient list on sunscreens to help choose a quality product. Be sure to buy a product with SPF 30 or higher and at least 7% zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
Things to avoid include oxybenzone or benzophenone-3, spray and powder sunscreens, fragrance, sunscreen with added bug repellent.
Be sun safe and have a GREAT 4th of July!
Jeff T says
Julie, The sun screen info really suprised me. Really hard to believe that some of the big brands with high uva and uvb ratings aren’t “good”. Jeff