Washington, D.C.—The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the 4th edition of its annual Sunscreen Guide. In all, the guide assessed about 1,400 products with SPF, including beach and sports lotions, sprays and creams, moisturizers, make-up and lip balms. The report seeks to identify those that are the safest and most effective, and those on the EWG’s list of use-caution products due to their lack of Sun Protection Factor (SPF) effectiveness and harmful ingredients.
Regarding potentially hazardous, the EWG has expressed concern about a form of vitamin A known as retinyl palmitate, which is found in approximately 41% of today's sunscreens! A recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study shows that this form of vitamin A may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. Another ingredient, oxybenzone, is found in many (60%) sunscreens and cosmetics and has been associated with endocrine system disruption. Many of the sunscreens containing these and similar ingredients received the “red” rating, products that should be avoided altogether.
As a result of their findings, EWG researchers recommend only 39 (8%) of 500 beach and sport sunscreens for this season. These are the products that received the coveted “green” rating for safety and efficacy—all of which contain the minerals zinc or titanium as their protective ingredients. There were no non-mineral sunscreens that scored better than “yellow” (use caution) in the report.
Some top recommended products in each category (in no particular order), from the Best Sunscreens to the Hall of Shame, are listed below:
Top Beach and Sport Sunscreens
1. Badger Sunscreen for Face and Body, Unscented, SPF 30
2. Kabana Skin Care Green Screen Organic Sunscreen
3. Beyond Coastal Lip & Face Screen
4. Desert Essence Age Reversal Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
5. Jason Natural Products Sunbrellas Chemical Free Sun Block
Top SPF Lip Balms
1. Badger Lip Balm, SPF 15
2. Purple Prairie Botanicals - Sun Stick Lip Balm
3. UV Natural Lip Sun Screen, SPF 30
4. UV Natural Sport Lip Screen, SPF 40
5. Alba Botanica Lip Balm
Top SPF Moisturizers
1. Devita Natural Skin Care Solar Protective Moisturizer
2. Karen's Botanicals Lovely Lavender Cream, SPF 15
3. Obagi Nu-Derm Physical UV Block, SPF 32
4. Keys Soap Solar RX Therapeutic Sunblock
5. Sanre Organic Skinfood Rosemary Lavender Day Cream
Top SPF Makeup
1. Avene Tinted Compact, SPF 50
2. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Compact Cream Foundation
3. Zia Natural Skincare Mica Foundation
4. CoverBlend Concealing Treatment Makeup, SPF 20
5. Jane Iredale PurePressed Base, SPF 20
Hall of Shame
1. Banana Boat Baby Max Protect, SPF 100
2. Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection, SPF 55
3. Anthony Logistics for Men Sunstick, SPF 15
4. Banana Boat Ultra Defense Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50
5. Hawaiian Tropic Baby Creme Lotion, SPF 50
Interestingly, EWG also lists FDA and the Skin Cancer Foundation on its Hall of Shame list. EWG calls out FDA for “32 years (and counting) after its first draft sunscreen standards, still no final rule,” and the SCF for not having strict enough standards for its seal of approval, which is found on countless products.
To find where your sunscreen ranks or to find a better sunscreen, use the EWG's handy “Find the Best Sunscreen for You” tool.
Click here to view the entire EWG 2010 Sunscreen Guide.