Choose the Safest Sunscreen for Your Family with this 2021 Guide

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) regularly reviews new sunscreen products on the market to make sure the products are safe. Between 2020 and 2021, the group analyzed 500 sunscreens. Of the 1,800 products they have analyzed over the years, 75% were either inadequate as a way of protecting against the sun’s rays or included ingredients that have been linked to harmful effects on people. However, they have found over 200 sunscreens that are safe to use. But the article points out that sunscreen is just one measure to take to protect yourself against the harmful effects of the sun. For example, wearing a T-shirt is far more effective to protect your skin than a bad sunscreen. Wearing hats and avoiding going outside during the middle of the day can do a lot to protect you as well. Kids are also more susceptible to exposure to the sun.

The problem with some sunscreens is that the chemicals can be absorbed into a person’s bloodstream; there are seven known chemicals in sunscreens that can remain in the bloodstream in unsafe levels. The levels exceed the amounts specified as safe, and can still be detectable 4 days later at unsafe levels. The following are the chemicals that the FDA has asked manufacturers to test for safety :

  • Avobenzone
  • Cinoxate
  • Dioxybenzone
  • Ensuilizole
  • Homosalate
  • Meradimate
  • Octinoxate
  • Octisalate
  • Octocrylene
  • Oxybenzone
  • Padimate O
  • Suilisobenzone

There are concerns about some of these chemicals affecting breast milk, causing researchers to be concerned for how newborns may be affected. Oxybenzone could also contribute to hormone changes and disruptions in birth weights for infants. Both oxybenzone and octinoxate are also harmful to marine creatures and coral reefs, resulting in their use being banned by some islands, like Hawaii and Key West.

The use of the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are considered safe because they are not absorbed. They also don’t have any known adverse effects on the environment. Because of the approval of agencies like the FDA, more companies have been moving to make sunscreen with the safer minerals., with 45% of newer products making the switch.

Most people think that they are getting better protection with a higher SPF, but that isn’t always true. 60+ is the highest proven effective sunscreen, so anything over that isn’t necessarily protecting you from the sun’s rays. According to the EWG, it is best not to use anything that has an SPF that is higher than 50+. They recommend looking for sunscreens that protect your skin against UVA and UVB rays.

The FDA has also expressed some concern about spray sunscreens. Not only are they potentially combustible, the spray can get into the lungs. This can actually cause irreversible damage to lungs, especially in children. Sunscreens do not go through the same rigorous testing as lotions either.

If you are planning to spend time outside this year, make sure you plan to wear sunscreen. If you would like a more in-depth look at how to protect your skin, you can read more at Choose the Safest Sunscreen for Your Family with this 2021 Guide.

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