Some Sunscreens Increase Health Risks

Patient Expert

Although it’s been really rainy where I live this month, we also are seeing hints of impending summer, thanks to the longer days and the warmer temperature. That means more time spent outside walking, hiking, biking and grilling.

While enjoying the greater outdoors can make you feel like a kid again, spending time outside in shorts, t-shirts and swimsuits puts you at risk for sun damage to your skin. This video provides a good overview:

Safety of Sunscreens

As you go shopping for a new container of sunscreen, it’s important to make a choice that is good for your long-term health. That’s where the Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes in. This group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that is dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.

EWG has announced its Sunscreen Hall of Shame, which are potentially dangerous as well as a waste of money.  There are four areas to be wary of the following:

  • Spray sunscreens, which can be inhaled and don’t cover the skin completely.
  • Sunscreens that are labelled with SPF values above 50, since 50 is the highest level of SPF protection available.
  • Oxybenzone – which is found in half of the beach and sport sunscreens -- may disrupt your hormone system.
  • Retinyl palmitate, which also can be dangerous to your health. “Night creams with this chemical may help skin look more youthful,” the EWG noted, “But on sun-exposed skin, retinyl palmitate may speed development of skin tumors and lesions, according to government studies.”

The group put together three lists of specific brands that are grouped into the 11 worst spray sunscreens, the 12 worst sunscreen lotions and the 11 worst sunscreens for kids. It’s a list worth checking out. EGW also provide a list of the Best Beach and Sports Sunscreens.

Moisturizers with SPF

Many people like to use moisturizers with SPF. EWG also have identified 122 moisturizers with SPF that meet the organization’s criteria.

These lists can help you make smart choices so you can protect both your skin as well as your long-term health.

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Primary Sources for This Sharepost:

Environmental Working Group. (ND). Best Beach and Sport Sunscreens.

Environmental Working Group. (2015). EWG Sunscreen Hall of Shame.

Environmental Working Group. (ND). Best Moisturizers with SPF.