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Environmental Working Group's Sunscreens No Nos

Environmental Working Group's Sunscreens No Nos

Sunscreen protects you from the sun, but who is protecting you from sunscreen?

The American group, EWG (Environmental Working Group) have released their analysis of sunscreens on the market. Here are the 7 key products to say avoid:

  • Spray Sunscreens
  • Super-High SPFs
  • Oxybenzone and Other Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
  • Retinyl Palmitate
  • Combined Sunscreen/Bug Repellents
  • Sunscreen towelettes or powders
  • Tanning Oils

Spray sunscreens are a high risk strategy, despite seeming so clever. The main problem is the inhalation risk is very high and the for every bit that hits the spot, there is quite a bit more that misses completely. 

Super high SPFs are misleading for most of us common people. In Australia, SPFs only go to 30 at the moment and are set to go to 50. Don't get to excited though as the expense is not really worth it. A SPF50 only gives you 1 percent more protection than SPF30.

Oxybenzone and Other Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EA) are to be avoided as it is linked to lower birthweight daughters and endometriosis. Also look out for 4-methylbenzylidine camphor and 3-benzylidine camphor.

Retinyl Palmitate on sun-exposed skin may speed development of skin tumors and lesions.

Combined Sunscreen/Bug Repellents may give a false sense of security or confuse as sunscreen may need to be reapplied more frequently than repellent, or vice versa. Also, you should avoid using repellents on your face, as combining sunscreens and repellents leads to increased skin absorption of the repellent ingredients.

Sunscreen towelettes or powders offer very debatable sun protection. 

Tanning Oils are simply bad unless you want to be a roast turkey. They typically don't contain much sun protection.

As a side note, don't buy sunscreen with SPF lower than 15 nor those without zinc oxide or avobenzone for UVA protection.

Source and more information at 

Image: BlueOrange Studio/Shutterstock

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