So I did some looking. Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a good list of the "best" sunscreens rated by effectiveness and also safety of ingredients. Their information looks sound, and they publish their methodology for assessing sunscreens, which appears to be quite well thought out. They recommend sunscreens based on titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide rather than chemicals like oxybenzone, since these metal oxidess are effective at blocking UV and relatively harmless to humans and animals. Some info from their report Sunscreens Exposed:
Poor UVA protectionWhich was a surprise to me, since I always figures vitamins are "natural" and "good". Here's some recommendations from their list of best beach and sport sunscreens.
Three of five U.S. sunscreens wouldn’t be acceptable in Europe. EWG’s analysis of more than 500 beach and sport sunscreens with SPF ratings of 30 and higher finds that more than 300 of them, about 60 percent, provide inadequate UVA protection and are too weak for the European market, where manufacturers voluntarily comply with a standard for meaningful UVA protection.
Risky vitamin A additives
Many sunscreen makers still use a form of vitamin A, called retinyl palmitate, ignoring recent scientific research by the federal Food and Drug Administration indicating the chemical may be photocarcinogenic – that it may heighten skin cancer risk when used on sun-exposed skin. While more definitive research is under way, EWG recommends that prudent consumers avoid vitamin A-laden sunscreens.
- Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Mineral Block Face Stick, SPF 50
- Beyond Coastal Natural Clear, SPF 30
- Earth's Best: Sunblock Mineral Based, SPF 30+
- Novena Maternal Skin Care Organic Anti-Aging Mineral Sunblock, SPF 30 (gotta love a product with a name like that)
- thinksport LIVESTRONG sunscreen , SPF 30+ (yes, Lance is everywhere)
- Tropical Sands All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 50
So check out the list and choose a sunscreen wisely this summer.