The Environmental Working Group recently released its 2011 Sunscreen Guide, a comprehensive round-up of 1,700 sunscreens and SPF-rated lip balms, moisturizers, and make-ups. The guide reviews them all, including their effectiveness against both UVB (which causes sunburn) and UVA (which causes wrinkles, premature skin aging, and increased cancer risk).
Here’s a list of their Top Sunscreens. They all provide “broad spectrum” coverage, which means they effectively block both types of UV rays. They also all contain the minerals zinc or titanium, which effectively block UVA. None of them contain chemicals that may have potential health risks, such as oxybenzone and a form of Vitamin A called retinyl palmitate. (Here’s are articles on the chemical risks and potential hazards of Vitamin A).
If you want to learn more about your current sunscreen, you can search by product name and brand. The guide also features a Hall of Shame, which highlights some of the worst sunscreens out there—and explains why they symbolize what’s wrong with current sunscreen labeling practices.
On that note, the FDA just announced new regulations regarding sunscreen labeling that will take effect over the next two years. Here’s a New York Times article for more: FDA Unveils New Rules About Sunscreen Claims.
Finally, remember that the best sunscreen of all is a hat and shirt. Enjoy the sun!
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.