Sunscreen- What is Safe and What Isn’t?

There has been a lot of press lately about the possible toxins and harmful ingredients in sunscreen.  To most parents, this is a very concerning issue. We all know the importance of using sunscreen to help protect us from UVA and UVB rays and hopefully decrease our chances for skin cancers and sunburns.  Now we are faced with the fact that many of the sunscreens we are lathering all over our bodies and our children’s bodies contain harmful ingredients.   I have been getting many phone calls and emails asking me which sunscreens are safest.  I wish there was a very straightforward and easy answer, unfortunately, there is not a large amount of research on many of the ingredients in sunscreens and just because a product you buy is from a health food store, does not mean it is “all natural”.  Based on the limited research we do have , the following is a list of potentially harmful ingredients.

Avoid sunscreens that contain the following:
oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate (a type of vitamin A), parabens, have an SPF above 50

When buying sunscreens , make sure they protect against both UVA and UVB rays (aka: Broad Sprectrum). The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a great section on their website that rates nearly all the sunscreens on the market and grade them 0 – 10 (0 – 2 low hazard, 3 – 6 moderate hazard, 7 – 10 high harzard).  I encourage you to go to their website, search for your favorite sunscreen or a sunscreen you are considering to purchase and find out the rating.  Here is a link to the EWG website on sunscreens:
http://breakingnews.ewg.org/2012sunscreen/all-sunscreens/

I personally use the Badger SPF 30+ unscented water resistant sunscreen, this can be purchased at whole foods market and many other health food stores.

Protect yourself from the sun and from harmful ingredients and enjoy your summer!

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