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Best Sun-Protection Products of 2016: EWG Report

Best Sun-Protection Products of 2016: EWG Report
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By    |   Thursday, 26 May 2016 04:09 PM

The prestigious Environmental Working Group has released its 10th annual sunscreen guide, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial kickoff of summer.

The non-partisan advocacy group identified the best and safest products from 750 sunscreens, 500 daily moisturizers, and 100 lip products with SPF (sun protection factor) values.

“We scored the products based on the labeled ingredients and took into account how effective they are in providing UV protection against both UVA rays and the more powerful and damaging UVB rays, “ Sonya Lunder, Senior Analyst at EWG tells Newsmax Health.

“The products were scored two-thirds for their effectiveness and one-third for the concern over possible skin hazards in the ingredients,” she says.

The scoring runs from one to 10, with one being the best rated sunscreen and 10 being the worst. The EWG also broke out sunscreens geared for children and ranked the best and the worst in this category as well.

“Many adults with sensitive skin use products made for children because they tend to be less irritating,” says Lunder. The EWG also included price comparisons in its list. “We didn’t want to select the top brands because in the safest and best categories the products tended to have similar ingredients so it’s really up to the consumer to choose a sunscreen that feels right for them.”

The list includes the best beach and sports sunscreens overall with 203 listings. Among the product makers with multiple items that made EWG’s list: Alba Botanica, All Good, All Terrain, Babo Botanicals, Badger, Bare Belly Organics, Beyond Coastal, California Baby, Blue Lizard, Goddess Garden, Kabana Organic Skin Care, Kiss My Face, Nature’s Gate, Sunubra, Tropical Sands, True Natural, and True Kid.

You can find the complete list at the EWG Website, which also includes valuable tips on skin care protection and the dubious Hall of Shame, sunscreens that ranked at the bottom of their list.

To help consumers select the right product, the EWG has assembled a sample kit of approved sunscreens that contains dozens of products. To order yours for a tax deductible donation of $75, visit the organization’s Website.

Lunder adds that the EWG along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration disapprove of spray sunscreens and prefer lotions.

“People tend to misuse sprays and miss spots, “she explains. “We are also concerned with the danger of inhaling the spray.”

Lunder says that despite the growing awareness about the dangers of exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, and a multi-billion sunscreen industry, melanoma rates have tripled over the past three decades.

“If you use sunscreen, you must reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating,” she notes. “But you should not rely on sunscreens alone to protect you from the sun. That should be the last resort.”

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone protect themselves from the sun by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing such as long sleeved T-shirts, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses as well as using sunscreen with an SPF of higher. That’s the first line of defense against sunburn.

Lunder warns that people are often fooled by products boasting an SPF of 50 and over. They are not more effective or efficient.

“This tends to be misleading with people thinking they can spend more time in the sun,” she says. “It isn’t true and unfortunately we found several sunscreens with unreasonably high SPF levels. These products aren’t even allowed in Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia.”

Experts also advise avoiding products containing vitamin A. The sunscreen industry adds a form of vitamin A to 16 percent of beach and sport sunscreens, 14 percent of moisturizers with SPF and 10 percent of lip products.  Research shows that this antioxidant may trigger the development of skin tumors and lesions in the presence of sunlight. Vitamin A may also be called retinyl palmitate, retinal acetate, retinyl linoleate and retinol.

You should also beware of oxybenzone. This is commonly used as a UV filter in sunscreen. It is a hormone disrupter and allergen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detected it in 97 percent of Americans. It was in 70 percent of the non-mineral sunscreens the EWG tested this year.

Also, be selective in choosing between a chemical sunscreen and one based on minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The chemical products may cause allergies and disrupt the body’s hormone system.

“We prefer mineral based sunscreens,” says Lunder. “They are stable in sunlight, offer a good balance between both UVA and UVB protection and often don’t contain potentially harmful additives.”

If you do use sunscreen, you should have your vitamin D levels checked. Sunshine causes the body to produce vitamin D while sunscreen appears to inhibit this process. Vitamin D, technically a hormone, strengthens bones and the immune system while reducing the risk of breast, kidney, colon and ovarian cancers as well as other disorders.

“Our best advice is to check our list of approved sunscreens and try a few products to see if you like the feel and consistency,” says Lunder. “But don’t depend on sunscreen alone to protect your against the sun’s potentially harmful rays. Stay out of the mid-day sun as the song goes and follow the advice on covering up.”

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Cancer
Just in time for Memorial Day Weekend, an environmental advocacy group has unveiled its list of the best sunscreens, moisturizers, and skin-protection products on the market. Here’s what to pack in your beach bag, backpack, or picnic basket this weekend.
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2016-09-26
Thursday, 26 May 2016 04:09 PM
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