The Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreen Safety

SunCare4-ArticleDid you know there’s a non-profit research organization that is completely dedicated to protecting our health and the environment? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) does just that by telling us what we need to know about skincare product safety, food additives, pesticides and all-around clean living. This year, their diligent analysts rated over 1,700 sunscreens and SPF moisturizers for safety and effectiveness.

Here’s what they had to say about the best ones for you and your family.

How EWG Rates Sunscreens

EWG determines the top-rated sunscreens by analyzing how well they protect us and the safety of listed ingredients. Two-thirds of the score is based on a product’s UV protection and stability, and one-third on toxicity concerns of ingredients. Product ratings are from 0-10, specifically 0-2 (low hazard), 3-6 (moderate hazard) and 7-10 (high hazard).

Minerals vs. Chemicals and Vitamin A

When it comes to ingredients, EWG studies the latest research to see how ingredients impact our bodies. In the case of sunscreens, the sun’s damaging rays are blocked with minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, or with chemical filters like avobenzone and oxybenzone. EWG recommends mineral-based sunscreens because they are more stable, last longer and don’t penetrate the skin like chemical-based sunscreens (some of which, like oxybenzone, are suspected hormone-disruptors). And be on the lookout for added Vitamin A, listed as retinol or retinyl palmitate. EWG says this common anti-aging ingredient speeds up the development of cancerous skin tumors when exposed to sunlight, so save Vitamin A products for nighttime use.

Top Picks & Why We Love Them

For Kids

(EWG doesn’t recommend using sunscreens on infants under 6 months of age)

ThinkBaby SPF 50+ (EWG rating 1) Organic, non-nano zinc oxide, non-aerosol, no chemical UV absorbers with super skin-protecting anti-oxidants cranberry and raspberry oil.

TruKid Sunny Days Face and Body Stick SPF30 (EWG rating 1) Easy to use and carry, a roll-on sunscreen that’s water-resistant.

For Athletes (or extended time outdoors)

Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream SPF 35 (EWG rating 1) Water and sweat resistant, unscented and environmentally friendly; it’s biodegradable, safe for coral reefs and comes in a BPA and phthalate-free tube.

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sport Sunscreen SPF 45 (EWG rating 2) Water-resistant and skin nourishing with aloe vera, calendula, lavender, grape seed and green tea extracts.

For Bodies (everyday coverage)

DeVita Solar Body Moisturizer SPF30+ (EWG rating 1) Non-greasy and easily absorbed, it revitalizes skin with anti-aging vitamins and botanicals like vitamin E, Japanese green tea, rose hips and seaweed extract.

Alba Botanica Mineral Sunblock SPF30 (EWG rating 2) Lightweight and moisturizing with jojoba oil, green tea and lavender, it hydrates and protects skin.

For Faces (with extra benefits)

Jane Iredale Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream SPF25 (EWG rating 2) Goes on smoothly for a dewy, radiant finish with excellent coverage in eight easy-to-match shades.

Juice Beauty Tinted Mineral Moisturizer SPF30 (EWG rating 1) Zinc oxide-based with skin-saving botanicals like aloe, white grape juice and cucumber extract.SunCare4-Article

<p class=”italic”> Speak with a Pharmaca practitioner for your health and beauty questions. </p>

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