Last year’s post on Safe and Effective Sunscreens is one of the most popular on this site. It highlights the results of the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen study. My goal was to look through their recommended options to find the most readily available and inexpensive sunscreens. EWG has just come out with their newest sunscreen study for 2010. Sadly, only 8% of all sunscreens tested made it onto the approved list and they are all expensive.
There are several reasons why only 8% made the cut this year. One is a concern about the safety of Vitamin A in sunscreen products and the possibility that it actually increases our risk of skin cancer. Another reason relates to the effectiveness of sunscreens. EWG has found that effectiveness claims are rarely as they appear. It’s entirely possible that the sunscreen you’ve been using doesn’t have the protection you think it does. Read the full study yourself for all the details.
EWG has also created a helpful tool that allows you to input your sunscreen and then receive feedback about its ratings. You can try out the tool below.
A note about naysayers: Every year after the release of EWG’s sunscreen study, the internet is abubble with claims that EWG’s report is in error, that poorly rated sunscreens really do work, aren’t dangerous, etc. If you check the sources of these claims however, they almost always come from the sunscreen industry — either companies who manufacture the very sunscreens that were rated poorly or other businesses that have a vested interest in certain sunscreen products performing well in the market. As such, I tend not to trust these arguments. I will say that I am not a scientist and I am unable to break down EWG’s study to find gaps. I do believe, however, that the sunscreens they recommend are safe. While they are also expensive, I’m willing to err on the side of caution here. The primary method suggested by EWG for reducing harmful sun exposure is to cover up. Wear UV protective clothing, wear hats, stay out of the sun during peak daytime hours if you can.
10 Safe and Effective Sunscreens From EWG’s 2010 Study
You can view the full list here.
1. California Baby SPF 30 + Sunscreen Lotion 2.9 oz – $17.99 ($6.20/ounce)
2. California Baby SPF 30 + Sunblock Stick – No Fragrance, .5 oz – Pack of 2 for $25.98 ($25.98/ounce)
3. Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+, 5.3-Ounce Tube – $24.50 ($4.62/ounce)
4. All Terrain AquaSport Performance Sunblock, SPF 15, 3-Ounces – Pack of 2 for $20.28 ($3.38/ounce)
5. Badger Sunscreen for Face & Body SPF 30 2.9 oz – $15.99 ($5.51/ounce)
6. Jason Natural Products Sunbrellas Chemical Free Sun Block 4 oz. – $11.21 ($2.80/ounce)
7. JASON NATURAL PRODUCTS, Earth’s Best Baby Care Chemical Free Sun Block SPF30+ – 4 oz – $13.58 ($3.39/ounce) [This is the one we use for our kids]
8. Loving Naturals Organic SPF 30 Sunscreen Zinc Oxide 4 Oz. UVA/UVB Vegan – $19.75 ($4.93/ounce)
9. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 40 Suncreen Cream UVA Protection with Mexoryl SX, 1.7-Ounce Tube – $25.98 ($15.28/ounce) [I use this one for my face]
10. Miessence Reflect Outdoor Balm SPF 15 3.5 oz. – $27.90 ($7.97/ounce)
EWG has also created a Hall of Shame that lists 8 popular sunscreens and explains the problems with them. Be sure to check out that list.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful. If so, please spread the word by sharing with the people you know.
Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet