Ah the days of slathering on baby oil and frying at the beach in the hot sun! Hopefully these are faded memories for you because unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know that unprotected sun exposure is the ultimate sin against your skin. If you HAVE been living under a rock, all the better, since it’s mighty shady.
Be sure you undertake a “zero tolerance policy” on zero sunscreen. Unprotected exposure to the sun – even a little every day – builds up up and results in “photoaging.” It’s never too late to prevent further sun damage and reverse some of the damage you have (more on this in a separate post.)
Just because you are wearing sunscreen on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean that you are getting the protection you need. AND, it doesn’t mean you are not HARMING your skin!
There are sunscreen ingredients to avoid like the plague. A few are oxybenzone, which is a hormone disruptor and Padimate-O and Parsol 1789, two chemicals which actually have the potential to harm DNA when reacting with sunlight! Wha? How do we know what’s SAFE? Where’s the FDA? Well, thank goodness for these guys….
There is a group called the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which analyzed over 1,778 name-brand sunscreens on the market in Summer 2009 and their findings for 2010 are coming out soon. The study included things like how well they blocked UVA and UVB radiation, how stable the product is in sunlight (if the product breaks down in the sun) and if products contain any ingredients which are health hazards.
They found that for 2009, “2 out of 5 sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns. Leading brands were the worst offenders: None of market leader Coppertone’s 54 sunscreen products met EWG’s criteria for safety and effectiveness, and only 2 of 162 products from Banana Boat and Neutrogena, the second and third-largest manufacturers, are recommended by EWG. “
Gasp! No, NOT Neutrogena – say it isn’t so! If we can’t trust the big brands, then who can we trust?
UPDATE: The 2010 Sunscreen Report is now in. They recommend only
39 out of 500 beach and sport sunscreens for this season! That’s only 8 percent! Why so low?
Well, bad news…this year, new concerns are springing up about an ingredient called retinyl palmitate, which is a form of vitamin A. It’s found in nearly half of all sunscreens. The FDA is now investigating whether retinyl palmitate accelerates skin damage and raises skin cancer risk when applied to skin exposed to sunlight. No final conclusions have been made, but the EWG is now recommending we go with Vitamin A-free sunscreens, just to be safe.
MUST READING: Here’s a link to the 2010 Sunscreen Report:
Environmental Working Group’s 2010 Sunscreen Report
I like to call this site “The Sunscreen Bible.” All the work has been done for you, now making your sunscreen choice a no-brainer. You can even use their search engine and select your current sunscreen brand, to learn if it has any harmful effects.
I’ve been using a Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock and learned that the EWG gives it a “5” – which means it’s a moderate health and sun hazard (out of 10). Thankfully, I’m at the bottom of the tube and now am armed to make a smarter purchase. The best and recommended products are those which the site ranks with 0 to 2. Products ranked 3-6 are “Caution” and those ranked 7-10 are “Avoid.”
A few of the best rated brands by the EWG for 2010 are:
Loving NaturalsSunscreen, SPF 30+
You can buy the products directly from this site too — without even venturing into the sun.
So, read your bible. Knowledge is Power!
Submitted by The Anti-Aging Analyst