Find the Most Effective Sunscreens with EWA's 2012 Sunscreen Guide
May 21, 2012Posted by pamela |
Summer is on its way, and that usually means a lot of time spent outside—at the beach, by the pool, playing sports, or enjoying the outdoors. This of course means that your family needs adequate sun protection. While the only sure-fire way for you and your family to avoid all the sun's damaging UV rays is by covering up with shirts and hats and hanging out in the shade, that may not always be an option, so we need to resort to using sunscreen. What would summer be, after all, without the ritual of slathering up the children with gobs of UV-blocking goo?
While many sunscreens promise a lot to the consumer (especially those with SPF 50+ ratings), do they really deliver the protection the advertise? Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group's 2012 Sunscreen Guide is available to help sort the good sunscreens from those that won't help much.
In fact, EWA's guide only recommends 188 of the over 600 beach-and-sport sunscreens available in the United States. The top-rated beach-and-sport sunscreens are all mineral based, containing either titanium or zinc. Non-mineral based alternatives, while often having a smell or texture preferable to the mineral based sunscreens, didn't fare nearly as well—the EWA can only recommend 23, none of which earn their top rating. Many of these sunscreens contained harmful chemicals in the forms of oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen and potential hormone disruptor, or vitamin A, which may actually accelerate the development of damage and tumors to sun-exposed skin. Many of them don't even work all that well, having only moderate or poor UVA protection.
None of the EWA's recommended sunscreens are in spray and powder form. Many of these products contain carcinogenic chemicals which may be harmful if accidentally inhaled, so they should be avoided, especially when used with children. You can also check out the Sunscreen Hall of Shame to see products that absolutely didn't make the cut.
EWA's 2012 Sunscreen Guide contains much more than product ratings. It's also a wealth of information about sun exposure and how it relates to your health, as well as the complex world of sunscreens and how they protect your skin from UV exposure (or don't). The upshot of all this research is: stay out of the sun, if you can. But if you have to find a healthy, effective sunscreen, this guide is a good place to start.