COLUMBIA - We all know that sunscreen is incredibly important. Especially if we are spending a lot of time outside due to our job or just for fun. We need to prevent skin cancer, right? We might think that all sunscreens are the same, but packaged in different bottles with different brand names. But that's just not the case.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. EWG’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.
EWG has rated thousands of bottles with zero to two being considered great choices and seven to 10 ratings considered poor choices.
A sunscreen gets a negative rating from the EWG for three reasons:
- Sprays: Spray sunscreens are big no-nos since they pose risks if inhaled, plus it's hard to know if you've applied too little or missed a spot.
- High SPFs: SPF of 50+ only refers to how much protection the sunscreen offers against UVB rays (that burn the skin), but doesn't have anything to do with protection against UVA rays, the ones that penetrate deeply and cause skin aging and skin cancer. High SPFs also give consumers a false sense of protection, thinking they don't need to be applied as often.
- Chemicals: Oxybenzone may disrupt hormones, and retinyl palmitate, a vitamin A additive may speed up the development of skin cancer.
Some of the best options (according to the EWG) would be:
- All Terrain AquaSport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30: Rated 1
- Badger Unscented Sunscreen Face Stick, SPF 35: Rated 1
- Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 35: Rated 1
- Badger Sunscreen Cream, Lavender, SPF 30: Rated 1
- Beauty Without Cruelty Sunscreen, SPF 30: Rated 1
- Block Island Organics Natural Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30: Rated 1
- The Honest Company Honest Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50+: Rated 1
- Butterbean Organics Simple Healthy Sunscreen, SPF 30: Rated 1
- Goddess Garden Facial Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30: Rated 1
- Goddess Garden Everyday Natural Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30: Rated 1
- Loving Naturals Sunscreen Clear Body, SPF 30+: Rated 1
- Sunumbra Family Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30: Rated 1
- Sunology Natural Sunscreen, Face, SPF 50: Rated 1
- Sunology Natural Sunscreen, Body, SPF 50: Rated 1
- Suntegrity Skincare Natural Mineral Sunscreen For Body, SPF 30: Rated 1
- True Natural Ultra Protect 50 Antioxidant Sunscreen, Natural Coconut, SPF 50: Rated 1
And, some of the worst options would be:
- Aveeno Active Naturals Hydrosport Wet Skin Spray, SPF 30: Rated 7
- Aveeno Active Naturals Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen, SPF 70: Rated 7
- Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100: Rated 10
- Banana Boat Sport Performance Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100: Rated 10
- Banana Boat Kids Max Protect & Play Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100: Rated 10
- Banana Boat Ultra Defense Sheer Protect Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50: Rated 7
- Bull Frog Marathon Mist Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 36: Rated 7
- CeraVe Sunscreen Body Lotion, SPF 50: Rated 7
- Coppertone Wet 'n Clear Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 45+: Rated 7
- Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Ultra Guard, SPF 70: Rated 7
- Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+: Rated 7
- CVS Sensitive Skin Sun Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 60: Rated 10
- CVS Beach Guard Sun Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70: Rated 7
- Equate Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30: Rated 7
- L'Oreal Advanced Suncare Silky Sheer Lotion, SPF 100: Rated 7
- Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen, SPF 60+: Rated 10
- Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 60+: Rated 10
- Neutrogena Age Shield Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 110: Rated 10
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, SPF 55: Rated 7
- Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Sunscreen Spray, SPF 50: Rated 7
- NO-AD Sport Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 30: Rated 7
- Panama Jack Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 85: Rated 8
- Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70: Rated 10
- Well at Walgreens Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70: Rated 7
For even more information about how to keep your family sun-safe, visit EWG's website.