The Environmental Working Group released its 16th annual Guide to Sunscreens and the findings are not much better than last year. The EWG tested more than 1,850+ sunscreen products and found that 75% of them either do not offer adequate protection or contain ingredients they say could be harmful to your health.
But, don’t fret. The high number of sunscreens tested also means more than 280 sunscreens “measured up to EWG’s rigorous testing standards”.
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The primary ingredient raising red flags is oxybenzone which the EWG says is a hormone disruptor. While it is still found in some sunscreens, the EWG noted it was only found in 30% of the non-mineral sunscreens they tested which is down from 60% three years ago. So, we are seeing progress.
David Andrews, Ph.D., a senior scientist at EWG also warned consumers to be wary of SPF values. Testing found that many sunscreens did not live up to the SPF values on the label, some offering as little as a quarter of what’s listed on the label.
“Most of the products we tested reduced UV radiation by only half what we expect from looking at the SPF on the label,” said Andrews.
“Our study shows that sunscreens are not adequately effective, especially at reducing UVA radiation. And current regulations, which allow inflated SPF values and poor UVA protection, leave consumers vulnerable to harmful sun exposure,” Andrews said.
It sounds like a lot of bad news, but as we mentioned earlier, there are many products out there that passed EWG’s rigorous testing standards that you can easily find on the shelf at your local drugstore.
Keep in mind–it’s not just sunscreen you need to use daily to protect yourself and your family. Protective clothing, hats and sunglasses are equally as important. Shade isn’t just a good way to cool off, it’s a great way to stay protected from the sun’s rays as well, so consider purchasing a beach tent or canopy for your family trips to the beach.
The EWG shares these 6 tips on how to choose the right protection for your kids and keep them sun safe:
- Avoid products with oxybenzone. This chemical penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and block the male sex hormone androgen.
- Stay away from sunscreens with SPF values higher than 50+. High SPF values do not provide increased UVA protection and may fool you into thinking you’re safe from sun damage.
- Avoid sprays. These popular products don’t provide a thick and uniform coating on skin. They also pose inhalation concerns.
- Cover up with clothing, hats and sunglasses.
- Avoid intense sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Stay away from Vitamin A in sunscreens. Government studies link the use of retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, to the formation of skin tumors and lesions when it’s applied to sun-exposed skin.
Here are some of the best scoring sunscreens for kids according to EWG’s 2022 report:
Adorable Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
All Good Kid’s Sunscreen Butter Stick, SPF 50+
Badger Baby Active Sunscreen Cream, Chamomile & Calendula, SPF 30
Burt’s Bees Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
California Baby Everyday Year Round Sunscreen stick SPF 30 and Super Sensitive Sunscreen Stick SPF 30
Coppertone Water Babies Pure and Simple Sunscreen Stick SPF 50
Earth Mama sunscreen products
Erbaviva Organic Skincare Baby Sun Stick, Lavender Chamomile, SPF 30
Just Skin Food Baby Beach Bum Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30
Olita Kids Mineral Sunscreen Sunstick, SPF30
Raw Elements Baby + Kids Sunscreen Lotion Tin, SPF 30
Star Naturals Baby Natural Sunscreen Stick, SPF 25
SunBioLogic Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
Suntribe Kids Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, Vanilla Yum Yum, SPF 30
thinkbaby Body & Face Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30
thinkbaby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
TruBaby Water & Play Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
TruKid Sunny Days Sport Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
UV Natural Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
Waxhead Sun Defense Baby Zinc Oxide Vitamin E + D Enriched Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 35