The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently posted their Best and Worst Sunscreens list for 2009 after testing over 1500 brands. They set out to find which brands work, which ones don’t, and which ones have harmful ingredients in them. Luckily I had been holding out for their results before I bought this year (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). To live a bit more naturally, please check out your sunscreen with them. They even have a list of best easy to find sunscreens, which I will include below for your reference.
Of the many sunscreen brands they tested, 3 out of 5 products did not protect well from the sun and/or they contained ingredients of questionable safety. They state that the brands with the largest market share “were the worst offenders.”
If you are stuck at the store without a list, what should you look for? To address safety concerns, look for ingredients that do not absorb through the skin. Very little zinc or titanium is absorbed by the skin and they provide good protection. Please remember that these two ingredients should not be inhaled, so you will want to avoid sprays and powders.
It is also important to replace your sunscreen each year. If you have an unopened bottle, it may be good for three years. However, once opened the SPF starts breaking down. Remember to check the expiration date at the bottom of each bottle. Some consumers report finding expired bottles on the shelves!
Here is the list of the best easy to find sunscreens, as compiled by the EWG:
- California Baby – any sunscreen
- Mustela – “Sun Cream” or “Sun Lotion, Bebe”
- Mission Skincare – “Face Stick”
- Neutrogena – “Pure & Free” or “Sensitive Skin”
- Blue Lizard – “Face”, “Baby”, or “Sensitive”
- Jason Natural or Earth’s Best – “Mineral Based”
- Solar Sense – “Clear Zinc Sport Stick”
- CVS – “Sport Sunstick”
- Coppertone Water BABIES – “Pure & Simple”