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Tags: environmental working group | ewg | suncreen | zinc oxide | titanium oxide | protection

Only 25% of Sunscreens Are Safe and Effective

beach sand, sunglasses, towel, sunscreen

By    |   Wednesday, 24 May 2023 10:01 AM EDT

Scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have released its 2023 Guide to Sunscreens just in time for Memorial Day weekend. This year’s guide reviews the effectiveness and ingredients of more than 1,700 SPF products, including sunscreens, moisturizers, and lip balms. While the EWG researchers noted a dramatic drop in the worrisome, potential cancer-causing ingredient oxybenzone in these products, they did find that most sunscreens did not meet their standards of effectiveness and safety.

“We found that only 25% of sunscreens available on the market offer broad-spectrum protection without troubling ingredients,” said Emily Spilman, a program manager on EWG’s Healthy Living Science team. “This underscores the importance of stricter standards.”

The top-rated recreational sunscreens in EWG’s guide mostly contain mineral-based active ingredients, such as zinc oxide or a combination of zinc oxide and titanium oxide since, because they have fewer health concerns and offer good sun protection. Zinc oxide provides effective broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A, or UVA, and UVB rays, and it’s stable in the sun.

Using a safe and reliable sunscreen is crucial. According to the National Cancer Institute, the rate of new melanoma cases among U.S adults has tripled since the 1970’s. The risk factors for this potentially deadly form of cancer include family history, indoor tanning, fair skin, freckles, moles, UV radiation, and severe sunburns.

“Young children are especially vulnerable to sun damage,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist at EWG. “Only a few blistering sunburns in childhood can double the chance a person will develop skin cancer over a lifetime. Sunscreens are still important tools in reducing UV exposure. It’s just that some products are better than others.

This year, EWG introduced the EWG VERIFIED Sunscreens mark on packaging to help consumers identify sunscreens that meet their rigorous standards. The new certification was awarded to 12 SPF products from ATTITUDE, Babo Botanicals and Beautycounter, and Monica Amarelo of EWG tells Newsmax that she expects more sunscreens to bear the label this summer as companies submit documentation.

“EWG VERIFIED is the leading standard for healthy ingredients in personal care and we are thrilled to bring it to the sunscreen market,” said EWG president Ken Cook.

Sunscreen is just one tool in the safe sun toolbox and should never be the only line of defense. Sensible sun protection includes wearing protective clothing, like a lightweight long-sleeved shirt, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses with UV protection, and shade.

Make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours when you are outdoors, even more frequently when you are swimming. Here are more tips from EWG:

  • Avoid products with oxybenzone. This chemical is absorbed through the skin in large amounts and can affect hormone levels.
  • Stay away from vitamin A. Government studies link the use of retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, to the formation of skin tumors and lesions when it’s applied to sun-exposed skin.
  • Steer clear of sunscreens with SPF values higher than 50+, which may not provide increased UVA protection and can fool people into thinking they’re safe from sun damage.
  • Avoid sprays. These popular products make it difficult to apply a thick and uniform coating on skin. They also pose inhalation concerns.
  • Avoid intense sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Check products against EWG’s 2023 Guide to Sunscreens.

© 2023 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

Scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have released its 2023 Guide to Sunscreens just in time for Memorial Day weekend. This year's guide reviews the effectiveness and ingredients of more than 1,700 SPF products, including sunscreens, moisturizers, and lip...
environmental working group, ewg, suncreen, zinc oxide, titanium oxide, protection
Wednesday, 24 May 2023 10:01 AM
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