This summer, when you are out in the sun, you want protection. It’s important to get vitamin D. But, it’s also essential for health to protect yourself from burns and the harmful side effects of too much sun, including skin cancer. But, with so many to choose from, which sunscreen is best for you?
Sunscreens can be tricky. They can be filled with harmful chemicals and not deliver the results they promise. Thankfully, the Environmental Working Group, which advocates environmental safety for consumers, has published the 15th Annual Guide to Sunscreens. They break their list down by categories, the best for when you are active, the best for daily use and the best for babies and children.
Each year the group evaluates more sunscreens to add to their list. They have now looked at 1,800 products on the market. Unfortunately, they found that 75 percent didn’t meet their standards of being both safe and effective. However, before you despair, more than 200 did get their seal of approval. They also noted that sunscreen should never be your first line of defense.
“A good T-shirt blocks the sun’s rays so much more effectively than a bad sunscreen. The cloth provides a little space between your skin and the rays, and also occludes a lot of the rays,” said Nneka Leiba, EWG’s vice president of healthy living science. “Covering your skin, wearing hats, avoiding the midday sun and being careful about kids, because of their increased susceptibility,” are all crucial steps to protecting against burns. “There are lots of tools in that sun protection toolbox — sunscreen is just one of them.”
The chemicals in sunscreen don’t just sit on top of your skin; they can be absorbed into your blood at unsafe levels. And in a study, researchers found the chemicals were still there in samples taken 21 days after people stopped using the sunscreen. In addition to the problems of chemicals leeching into your body, SPF claims can be untrue. The report shows that there is no proof that sunscreens can give you any added protection after SPF 60+. But, the claim on the bottle might give you a false sense of safety, so you don’t take other precautions. The report suggests sticking to sunscreens under SPF 50+ even if you don’t pick one from their list.
SPF only measures how much protection you get from UVB light, not UVA. While UVB light causes visible burns, UVA can go deeper into the skin and cause harm. Moreover, some manufacturers add things to sunscreen to stop the inflammation that could warn you of a burn to make you think that no damage has been done. While aloe or chamomile in your sunscreen may keep a visible burn hidden, you might still be harmed and unaware of it.
You might worry that the list only contains fancy brands. But, when you check it out, you’ll see that there are actually sunscreens from Coppertone, Banana Boat, Walgreens, Equate Beauty and other reasonably priced lines. You’ll see the same brands on the “worst” list as well, so you have to pick your product carefully; the same manufacture’s products can vary wildly in quality.
With a bit of research, you can find the best product for your needs! Getting out into the sunny weather is a wonderful part of summer. But, it’s essential to protect your skin. Picking the right sunscreen can be easy; consult the list and then head to the store or shop online and you’ll be outside, enjoying nature in no time at all!