Hold onto your hats…sunscreen has become a billion dollar industry. Long gone are the days when we’d slather our bodies with baby oil and lounge on the black-top for hours trying to achieve the perfect tan. Fortunately, we’ve become wiser about the dangers of skin damage and skin cancer over the years.
Although there are hundreds of sunscreens on the market, some of their ingredient lists seem more dangerous than the effects of the sun itself. Even more frightening- according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG)–
“…more than half of the sunscreens on the American market would not make it to store shelves in Europe.”
So, what does Europe know that we don’t? When it comes to skin care safety…a lot. These 5 tips for choosing a safe sunscreen will help though.
1. Ditch the Spray. Yes, it’s faster & more convenient, but it rarely goes on evenly. And, there is a huge risk of aerosolized droplets entering the lungs which may irritate the lung tissue or pass into the bloodstream.
2. Avoid toxic ingredients. Regardless of price- if these ingredients are listed leave the bottle out of your cart: oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate/retinyl acetate/retinyl linoleate/retinol (*while Vitamin-A is an antioxidant that may help reduce skin aging, it may actually trigger tumors and skin lesions when in direct sunlight).
3. Skip SPF overload. After SPF 50, you’re not paying for more sun protection, you’re just paying more.
4. Don’t discredit seal-less options. The Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Approval may give you reassurance that the product is safe, but that seal also comes at a price…around $10,000. Smaller companies may have resources to create a fabulous product, but not the finances to pay for the recognition. Let the ingredients guide your decision, not just a seal of approval.
5. Sunscreen alone won’t prevent skin cancer. There is still much debate on what actually causes melanoma, but there is no uncertainty that sunburn increases your risk. Using sunscreen is important to prevent sunburn, but don’t forget to wear (UVA & UVB) protective sunglasses, hats, and avoid prolonged sun exposure during the hottest hours of the day.
While the EWG sunscreen resource is fantastic, scrolling through it can take some time. So, we’ve rounded up some of their top (and bottom) choices for you…
10 Sunscreens that receive a Safe (Green) Rating
All Terrain AquaSport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Badger Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 15
California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
Keeki Pure & Simple SPF 15
John Masters Suncare Natural Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
Juice Beauty Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Nurture My Body Sunscreen, SPF 32
Sun Bum PRO Face Stick, SPF 30
The Honest Company Honest Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
Thinksport Sunscreen, SPF 50+
10 Sunscreens the fall into their “Hall of Shame“
Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Ultra Defense MAX Skin Protect Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110
Coppertone Sport High Performance AccuSpray Sunscreen, SPF 70
Coppertone Sport High Performance Sunscreen, SPF 75
CVS Sport Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100+
CVS Sport Sunstick Sunscreen, SPF 55
Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunscreen Body Mist, SPF 70
Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen Spray, SPF 85+
NO-AD Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 60
Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
sunscreen application photo credit