EWG’s Best and Worst Sunscreens

by Paul Martin -

SunscreenThe Environmental Working Group’s campaign for safer, more effective sunscreen seems to be having an impact on the industry.

The 2009 investigation of 1,571 products shows that 70 percent of sunscreens now contain strong UVA filters, which is up 41 percent from last year’s dismall 29 percent outcome. (Most sunscreens protect from the sun’s UVB rays. An ideal sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays and doesn’t break down in the sun).

There is some bad news, however, in that much UVA protection is still too thin to save your skin.

Here are some of the highlights from the third annual report. You can go there and type in the name of your favorite sunscreen to see how it rated:

  • Three of five brand-name sunscreens either don’t protect skin from sun damage or contain hazardous chemicals. None of Coppertone’s 43 sunscreen products met EWG’s criteria for safety and effectiveness. Only 2 of 150 products from Banana Boat and Neutrogena, the second-and third-largest manufacturers, are recommended by EWG.
  • The top rated beach and sport sunscreens include Soleo Organics Sunscreen Organic chemical-free sunscreen (SPF 30) and Badger Sunscreen. Also recommended are UV Natural Sunscreen (SPF 30+), Mexitan Sunscreen Lotion (SPF 50) and California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance (SPF 30 +).
  • The five sunscreens that rated the lowest were: Biore Pore Minimizing Lightweight Moisturizer (SPF15) , CVS Sport Sunblock Continuous Spray (SPF 15), Coppertone ultraGuard Continuous Spray Sunscreen (SPF 15), Bahama Bo’s Continuous Spray Sunblock (SPF 15) and Coppertone ultraGuard Sunscreen Lotion (SPF15).
  • EWG’s recommended lip balms include Fallene Cotz LipCotz, Ultra High Sun Protection (SPF 45), Jane Iredale LipDrink (SPF 15), Badger Lip Balm, SPF 15 and Caribbean Blue-natural basics Lip Shield, (SPF 15).
  • The highest rated moisturizers contained zinc oxide. Topping the list was Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Moisturizing Sunblock (SPF 30) followed by Marie Veronique Organics Creme de Jour Tinted (SPF 30), no nanoparticles and Devita International Daily Solar Protective Moisturizer 30.
  • Coppertone’s Sport Sunblock Lotion (SPF 30) and CVS Sport Sunblock Lotion (SPF 30) are among the 5 percent of high SPF products that have poor UVA protection.
  • EWG recorded a 19 percent drop in the use of oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen approved as an active ingredient in sunscreens. Lab tests have shown oxybenzone can disrupt the endocrine system; up to 15 percent of oxybenzone applied to the skin absorbs into living tissues and blood vessels below the surface, the EWG says.

-via Chicago Tribune


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