What’s in Your Sunscreen?
It’s summer. A time of long days of fun in the sun! When it’s time to lather up the sunscreen, it’s important to pay attention to that little list of ingredients on the back. Not all sunscreen is created equal. A recent report by the environmental working group (EWG) shows that about two-thirds of commercial sunscreens don’t work and/or contain questionable ingredients that are readily absorbed by the body.
With that in mind, here are a few basic tips to keep you and your family safe while you linger in warm weather pleasures.
Popular chemical-based sunscreens raise some red-flags when it comes to health and toxicity.
Oxybenzone, a chemical widely used in chemical-based sunscreen, is one of most concern according to the EWG. It is known for absorbing easily into the skin in large amounts. In fact, studies by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found it contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans and is even found in mother’s milk. Oxybenzone is a potential endocrine disruptor, can reduce sperm count in men, plus has a high rate of skin allergy. The EWG rates it as a high health concern and particularly warns against using with children or pregnant mothers.
Also of high concern is the ingredient retinyl palmitate. This form of vitamin A may harm skin and possibly lead to skin tumors.
According to the FDA, as many as 12 total active ingredients that are commonly found in chemical-based sunscreens raise questions and need further study to determine if they are safe.
Play it Safe with Mineral Sunscreens
The sunscreens that rate the highest by the EWG for health and sun protection are mineral sunscreens. The minerals typically found at the base of these products are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, two ingredients determined to be safe and effective in the EWG report.
Be Good to the Environment!
Our sunscreen choices don’t only affect us, they also impact the environments where we play. Harsh chemicals can seep into our oceans and are absorbed by corals. This can interfere with coral’s reproduction and growth cycles and also lead to bleaching. Mineral-based sunscreens are a safer choice for the environment.
It’s fun to dive into summer! Do it with a little knowledge and wisdom on your back and keep cool knowing you’re caring for your health and the environment!