Sunscreen Tips from the Environmental Working Group

July 8, 2010 by  
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The Environmental Working Group (EWG) once again is doing consumers a great service. This time it’s about sunscreens. Just in time for the summer heat wave that is sweeping across Europe and North America.

Here’s what EWG has to offer:

EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Safer Sunscreens

The guide gives us the list of ingredients to avoid and to look for when buying a sunscreen. To look for are:

  • Zinc
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Avobenzone or Mexoryl SX
  • Cream
  • Broad spectrum protection
  • Water resistant for beach, pool & exercise
  • SPF 30+ for beach & pool

To be avoided are:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Vitamin A
  • Added insect repellent
  • Sprays
  • Powders
  • SPF 50+

So what’s wrong with vitamin A, sprays, powders, and SPF above 50?

Well, despite its healthy name, vitamin A hasn’t really been proven to be solar protective when applied on the skin and may actually do more harm than good. Better leave the carrots for the eating where it can be more beneficial.

Sprays and powders pollute the air and SPF 50+ gives people a false sense of security that they tended to stay out in the sun longer than is recommended. These sunscreens do prevent sunburn but not the less obvious but still dangerous skin damage.

EWG also gives tips especially for babies and children whose skin is highly sensitive.

And a special message to the male sector of the population: Apply sunscreen!!! Do you know that while 78% of women apply sunscreen, only 34% of men do! Hey, guys! Do not think for a moment that you are immune to the sun’s UV rays. Your skin gets damaged, too and everybody can have skin cancer.

2010 EWG Sunscreen Guide iPhone App

Now, the same sunscreen guide found on the EWG’s website is also available as an iPhone, iPod or iPad app – for free. Thus, you have all the info you need about sunscreen when you are on the go.

EWG’s sunscreen database

EWG has looked at 1435 sun protection products, including about 500 sunscreens specifically marketed for beach and sports. You can enter a brand of sunscreen and the EWG scores them as follows:

  • 0-2 – recommended
  • 3-6 – caution
  • 7-10 – avoid

In addition, EWG also gives health concerns specific for each brand.

Aside from sunscreens, the EWG guide also gives info on

  • SPF Lip Balms
  • SPF Moisturizers
  • SPF Make up
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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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