Tuesday, June 1, 2010

2010 Sunscreen Guide

Just in time for summer, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released an in depth look at sunscreens.  Here are a few very surprising and note-worthy conclusions:
  • Both the FDA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer agree that there is no evidence that sunscreen prevents cancer.  Hats, shirts and shade are the primary barriers.
  • There is some evidence that sunscreens may actually increase the risk of skin cancer.  It's unclear why, but researchers speculate that it could be that sunscreen consumers stay out in the sun too long or that the sunscreen product is inferior.
  • While there are more products than ever with a SPF higher than 50, there is no proof that they are better. In fact, they may encourage consumers to stay out in the sun too long.
  • Vitamin A, a common sunscreen ingredient (in as many as 41% of sunscreens), may actually speed the development of cancer.  The FDA recently conducted a study of vitamin A’s photocarcinogenic properties, and there is a possibility that it results in cancerous tumors when used on skin exposed to sunlight.
You can read the full report in the EWG's 2010 Sunscreen Guide found on their website. It's a fantastic site. The EWG has included information on 1,400 sunscreens, lip balms and moisturizers. For those of us with allergy concerns they even point out ingredients that might be troublesome. They list their top picks and have a "Hall of Shame." There's a "Find Your Sunscreen" link so you can check what's on your shelf. They've even partnered with Amazon to create a store front where you can purchase some of the top brands.

Please take the time to check out the guide, read the dangers of some of the most common sunscreens on the store shelves and find out why the FDA has yet to wrap up sunscreen regulations that they started 32 years ago in 1978.

And, yes there is still a recommendation by the FDA to get 10 minutes of sunshine several times a week to help boost Vitamin D.  Happy Summer!  Enjoy the sun...just enjoy it wisely!


Julie Redfern said...

Craziness! I just ordered Caroline a sun shirt and Will's still fits from last year. They will be wearing them at the beach and in the backyard this summer. Thanks for the information!

Karen said...

I've had more serious sunburns (horrible 2nd degree) than I can count- and all because we didn't realize until I was about 16 that I'm allergic to the active ingredient in most sunscreens. They not only make me more sensitive to the sun, but I get a mild chemical burn as well. Shopping for sunscreen I can actually use is a nightmare. So if someone is still getting burned despite using tons of sunscreen as often as they are supposed to, it might be the active ingredients causing it.