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How Safe and Effective Are Sunscreens?

Environmental Working Group Sees Improvements, but Still Gives Industry Low Marks

10-Best Lists

Scientists from EWG developed a "best" list for sunscreens, lip balms, and moisturizers. On the 10 best sunscreens list (many sold online):

  • Soleo Organics Sunscreen Organic chemical-free sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • Mexitan Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50
  • Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40
  • California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance, SPF 30+
  • Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+
  • Kabana Skin Care Green Screen Organic Sunscreen, SPF 22, Skin Tone Tinted
  • Obagi Nu-Derm Physical UV Block, SPF 32
  • Elta MD UV Physical, SPF 41.

On the top 10 lip balm list:

  • Fallene cotz LipCotz, Ultra High Sun Protection, SPF 45
  • Jane Iredale LipDrink, SPF 15
  • Badger Lip Balm, SPF 15
  • Caribbean Blue-natural basics Lip Shield, SPF 15
  • Shady Day Shady Kiss Lip Balm, SPF 30
  • Bare Escentuals Lip Guard, SPF 15
  • Lavanila Laboratories The Healthy Lip Butter, SPF 15, Pure Vanilla, SPF 15
  • Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm Lemon & Chamomile, SPF 25
  • Rx Suncare Lip Balm Sunblock, SPF 45
  • Crabtree & Evelyn Naturals Protective Lip Balm, SPF 8, Cocoa butter & Cardamom

And the top 10 SPF moisturizers, according to EWG:

  • Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Moisturizing sunblock, SPF 30
  • Marie Veronique Organics Crème de Jour Tinted, SPF 30,no nanoparticles
  • Devita International Daily Solar Protective Moisturizer 30
  • SanRe Organic Skinfood Supple Sunshine, Organic Rosemary and Lavender Day Creme (Dry to Normal), SPF 30
  • Lotus Moon Sage Sun Protective Crème, SPF 25
  • Institut Dermed Sun Protective Cream Oil Free, Untinted, SPF 28
  • N.V. Perricone M.D., Targeted Care Solar Protection Face with DMAE, SPF 26
  • Sue Devitt Promarine Tinted Moisturizer, SPF 30, Capri
  • Sun Science Organic Daily Wear, SPF 30
  • Karen's Botanical Lovely Lavender Cream, SPF 15

Failures and Improvements

Among the failings of the sunscreen products and industry, according to EWG:

  • Only 5% of products overall met their criteria for safety and sunscreen effectiveness -- and that includes blocking UVA and UVB, maintaining stability, and having no or few ingredients with health hazards.
  • Product claims are overstated, promising such things as "all day" protection.
  • Many spray and powder products contain tiny "nano-scale" ingredients that could be absorbed more easily in the lungs and cause problems.

Brush up on Beauty

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