As summer arrives, store shelves are stocked with sunscreens. But one environmental organization says most of those aren’t worth your money.
EWG recently released its annual Sunscreen Guide, finding that about 80 percent of the 1,700 products it tested didn’t offer adequate protection from the sun or included ingredients that could harm your skin. EWG estimated that about half of the sunscreens sold in the United States wouldn’t make it to store shelves in Europe, due to the tighter regulations overseas.
One of the particular problems is the SPF (or, sun protection factor) scale, according to EWG. The FDA has long held the stance that any sunscreen with a SPF higher than 50 is misleading. Sunscreens that claim SPF 100, for example, are offering only marginally better protection than an SPF 50 product, not doubling the rate as would be indicated.
EWG also advises to keep an eye out for particular ingredients that may actually harm your skin. Retinyl palmitate is found in some brands but has been linked to skin damage. Another ingredient, oxybenzone, may disrupts hormone levels, according to the organization.
Lastly, the organization recommends avoiding spray-on sunscreens because they tend not to go on evenly.
EWG does recommend a list of 200-plus sunscreens that it has deemed skin-worthy. However, most major brands, including Banana Boat and Coppertone, didn’t fare so well.
EWG also offers a few other sunscreen shopping tips that can be found here.