Sunscreen has become a bit of a catch-22. If you use it, you just might be lathering toxins all over your body, and if you don’t, you’re exposing yourself to some super harmful UV rays (not to mention a pretty brutal sunburn). So what’s a girl to do? Full-body swimsuits don’t have to be the answer. To help you decode what’s good and what’s harmful, The Environmental Working Group has recently released their 2015 guide to sunscreen. They put the worst products on blast, but also listed some major things to look out for. Scroll on down for a few key things to remember next time you go sunscreen shopping.
1. Don’t use spray sunscreen.: While spray sunscreens are super convenient, they pose a real risk when the particles are inhaled. According to the EMG, “The FDA has expressed doubts about their safety and effectiveness but hasn’t banned them.” Additionally, spray sunscreens make it easy to miss areas of the skin and make it hard to determine how much you’ve actually applied.
2. Super high SPFs aren’t actually better. Be wary of anything with a 50+ SPF. The EMG explains that SPF protects from UVB rays, which burn skin but actually have little to do with UVA rays. UVA rays penetrate deep into skin and are known to cause skin cancer.
3. Avoid sunscreens with Oxybenzone: Oxybenzone is an active ingredient that can be found in half of the sunscreens currently on the market. When Oxybenzone soaks into your skin it can then get into your bloodstream and act like estrogen in the body. According to EMG, “Some research studies, while not conclusive, have linked higher concentrations of oxybenzone to disorders, including endometriosis in older women and lower birth weights in newborn girls.”
4. Watch out for Retinyl Palmitate: Retinyl Palmitate is an ingredient commonly found in night cream to make skin look more youthful. But according to government studies, when retinyl palmitate is exposed to sunlight it may speed up the development of skin tumors and lesions. Yikes.
What’s your secret to staying protected from the sun during the summer? Share with us in the comments below.