The Environmental Working Group released its 17th annual Guide to Sunscreens and the findings are not much better than last year. The EWG tested more than 1,700+ sunscreen products and found that only 25% offered adequate protection with no worrisome ingredients.
But, don’t fret. The high number of sunscreens tested also means 411 sunscreens “measured up to EWG’s rigorous testing standards”.
In fact, some sunscreens earned a newly coveted ‘gold standard in sunscreen protection’ from EWG. The organization also introduced 12 EWG Verified sunscreens this year from top brands like Beautycounter and Babo Botanicals.
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The primary ingredient raising red flags is oxybenzone which the EWG says is a hormone disruptor. While it is still found in some sunscreens, the EWG noted it was only found in 6% of the SPF products they tested which is a significant drop from last year. So, we are seeing progress.
This year’s EWG report also stated: “Oxybenzone is still allowed for use in sunscreens sold in most states and is now used in only 13 percent of non-mineral recreational sunscreens. Hawai’i issued a ban on oxybenzone in sunscreen, which took effect in 2021″.
Also interesting to note–the EWG study found that while many recreational sunscreens on the market in the United States can help prevent sunburn, they still do not offer protection against harmful UVA rays which can cause aging and even melanoma.
Emily Spilman, a program manager on EWG’s Healthy Living Science team said, “We found that only 25 percent of sunscreens available on the market offer good broad-spectrum protection without troubling ingredients, which underscores the importance of stricter standards.
The EWG estimates half of the sunscreens you can purchase in the United States today would not pass more rigorous sun protection standards in Europe.
It sounds like a lot of bad news, but as we mentioned earlier, there are many products out there that passed EWG’s rigorous testing standards that you can easily find on the shelf at your local drugstore.
Keep in mind–it’s not just sunscreen you need to use daily to protect yourself and your family. Protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses are equally as important. Shade isn’t just a good way to cool off, it’s a great way to stay protected from the sun’s rays as well, so consider purchasing a beach tent or canopy for your family trips to the beach.
The EWG shares these 6 tips on how to choose the right protection for your kids and keep them sun safe:
- Avoid products with oxybenzone. This chemical penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and block the male sex hormone androgen.
- Stay away from sunscreens with SPF values higher than 50+. High SPF values do not provide increased UVA protection and may fool you into thinking you’re safe from sun damage.
- Avoid sprays. These popular products don’t provide a thick and uniform coating on skin. They also pose inhalation concerns.
- Cover up with clothing, hats and sunglasses.
- Avoid intense sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Stay away from Vitamin A in sunscreens. Government studies link the use of retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, to the formation of skin tumors and lesions when it’s applied to sun-exposed skin.
Here are some of the best-scoring sunscreens for kids according to EWG’s 2023 report:
Adorable Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
All Good Kid’s Sunscreen Butter Stick, SPF 50+
Badger Baby Active Sunscreen Cream, Chamomile & Calendula, SPF 30
Burt’s Bees Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
California Baby Everyday Year Round Sunscreen stick SPF 30 and Super Sensitive Sunscreen Stick SPF 30
Coppertone Water Babies Pure and Simple Sunscreen Stick SPF 50
Earth Mama sunscreen products
Erbaviva Organic Skincare Baby Sun Stick, Lavender Chamomile, SPF 30
Just Skin Food Baby Beach Bum Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30
Olita Kids Mineral Sunscreen Sunstick, SPF30
Raw Elements Baby + Kids Sunscreen Lotion Tin, SPF 30
Star Naturals Baby Natural Sunscreen Stick, SPF 25
SunBioLogic Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
Suntribe Kids Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, Vanilla Yum Yum, SPF 30
thinkbaby Body & Face Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30
thinkbaby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
TruBaby Water & Play Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
TruKid Sunny Days Sport Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
UV Natural Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
Waxhead Sun Defense Baby Zinc Oxide Vitamin E + D Enriched Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 35