- The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released its 2012 Sunscreen Guide, listing the safest and most toxic sunscreens on the market.
- About 75 percent of sunscreens contain potentially harmful ingredients, such as oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate.
- Several studies have confirmed that appropriate sun exposure actually helps prevent skin cancer. In fact, melanoma occurrence has been found to decrease with greater sun exposure, and can be increased by sunscreens.
- The key to safe sun exposure is to determine the time of year when UVB rays will reach the ground in your specific area. When UVB rays are absent, your body will not produce vitamin D in response to sun exposure.
Safe Sunscreen Criteria
To make it onto EWG’s safe list, sunscreens must:
- Be free of oxybenzone - believed to cause hormone disruptions and the type of cell damage that can provoke cancer
- Be free of retinyl palmitate (a type of vitamin A) - “high concern” due to its developmental and reproductive toxicity
- Provide a maximum of SPF 50 – SPFs higher than 50 do not offer a great deal more protection at higher levels, therefore, you are wasting your money by buying SPFs higher than 50
- Protect against both UVA and UVB sunrays - SPF only protects against UVB rays, which are the rays within the ultraviolet spectrum that allows your body to produce vitamin D in your skin. But the most dangerous rays, in terms of causing skin damage and cancer are the UVA rays. This is why you always want to make sure any sunscreen you buy protects against UVA’s as well as UVB’s.
Internal Sunscreen a Safer Alternative?
- Using an “internal sunscreen” is an alternative to slathering on sunscreen.
- Astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, has been found to offer effective protection against sun damage when taken as a daily supplement.
- Some sunscreens are also starting to use astaxanthin as an ingredient to protect skin from damage. You can look for a sunscreen that has astaxanthin in it. Just make sure the product in question does not contain other toxic ingredients, as topically applied astaxanthin will not likely cancel out the deleterious effects of an otherwise toxic lotion.
Other Tips to Decrease Risk of Burning
- Consuming a healthful diet full of natural antioxidants is another useful strategy to help counter skin damage from exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
- Fresh, raw, unprocessed foods deliver the nutrients that your body needs to maintain a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 oils in your skin, which is your first line of defense against sunburn.
For More Information
http://breakingnews.ewg.org/2012sunscreen/hall-of-shame-whats-wrong-with-the-sunscreen-protection-business/ - A list of brand name children’s sunscreens that “failed the test” according to the EWG and made it on their “Hall of Shame.”