What Should You Look For In A New Sunscreen
“The best sunscreen is the one you actually use,” says Dr. Zeichner, citing the many formulas on the market â from sticks to creams to gels â as a way for everyone to meet their personal preferences. There are, however, a few basics to consider no matter what.
“Look for sunscreens that have at least SPF 30 protection and are labeled as broad spectrum,” he tells Bustle. “This means it covers both UVA and UVB rays.” While UVA and UVB rays are both forms of ultraviolet light, UVA rays cause skin aging while UVB rays cause burning. Both, though, damage your skin’s DNA, which could cause mutations that lead to skin cancer.
Dr. Viera adds that you should look for a product that’s compatible with your skin. Generally, she recommends avoiding natural ingredients like coconut, cocoa butter, and soybean oil because, while natural, they can clog pores and then cause breakouts. She also advises those with rosacea or sensitive skin to stay away from products that have fragrance of alcohol in them, which could irritate any existing conditions.
Are You Using The Best Sunscreens
A past EWG report cited research of Brian Diffey, PhD, emeritus professor of photobiology at the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University. Hes shown that, on average, U.S. sunscreens allow about three times more UVA rays to transfer through skin compared to European sunscreens. In fact, Americans sunscreen choices are fewer and often offer worse UVA protection compared to those available in the European Union.
This matters becauseUVA rays are more abundant than UVB rays, and UVA damage is more subtle than the sunburns induced mainly by UVB rays. UVA rays can damage your skin invisibly by suppressing the immune system and aging the skin over time overexposure of these rays are also linked to the development of melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, too.
According to EWG, most sunscreens sold in the U.S. would not be sold in Europe, which sets much more stringent UVA standards.
In the U.S., sunscreen regulations havent been updated since 2011. And while the FDA signaled it would take on the issue of UVA exposure, its recent proposal was withdrawn in the first coronavirus relief bill. The agency is due to propose its long-awaited rules on sunscreens again this fall.
Why Is My Sunscreen Stinging My Eyes
No matter how hard you try to avoid getting sunscreen near your eyes, its practically inevitable that a bit of sunscreen will eventually seep in there. And it can really sting. Most commonly, certain ingredients found in chemical sunscreens are to blame . Zinc oxide and titanium dioxidetwo active ingredients found in physical sunscreensare less likely to irritate your eyes. Face sunscreens are generally formulated to be less greasy and are therefore less likely to reach your eyes after you sweat or swim, but theyre not fail-safe. If you get sunscreen in your eye, its not dangerous, but you should flush the eye with water as soon as you can, pediatric dermatologist Susan Boiko writes in a Skin Cancer Foundation blog post.
Top Picks For The Best Baby Sunscreens
- 3rd Rock Sunblock Sunscreen Lotion, Infant, SPF 35
- Adorable Baby Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
- Badger Baby Active Sunscreen Cream, Chamomile & Calendula, SPF 30 & 40
- California Baby Everyday/Year-Round Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
- California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
- Earth Mama Baby Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick, SPF 40
- Earth Mama Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 40
- Erbaviva Organic Skincare Baby Sun Stick, Lavender Chamomile, SPF 30
- Erbaviva Organic Skincare Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- Just Skin Food Baby Beach Bum Sunscreen Stick, SPF 31
- Nurture My Body Baby Organic Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 32
- Raw Elements Baby + Kids Sunscreen Lotion Tin, SPF 30
- Raw Elements Baby + Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30
- Star Naturals Baby Natural Sunscreen Stick, SPF 25
- TruBaby Water & Play 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
- MADE OF Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
- thinkbaby Body & Face Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30
Most Toxic Sunscreens To Avoid
Heres a big takeaway thatll make things somewhat less complicated. EWG recommends avoiding all spray sunscreens. Not only are they very difficult to apply effectiveness and evenly, but theres some concern the ingredients could potentially cause irreversible lung damage. The truth is, the ingredients just havent been tested in the aerosol capacity for long-term impact on human health, like so many other everyday chemicals, unfortunately.
When it comes to sunscreens, here are some of the other worst overall offenders scoring in the Red Zone for major safety concerns. Overall, these products tested poorly in the EWG analysis and are considered bad choices for sun protection. Just remember, this list is not exhaustive. To check your favorite sunscreen or to peruse the database, .)
This is by no means a complete list. Be sure to check your individual products safety assessment at EWG.org.
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Pump out station available on request next to the fuel dock.
Its no secret that the sun provides all sorts of health benefits, including helping our bodies manufacture vital vitamin D. With warmer weather right around the corner, though, many people are looking for the best sunscreens to cut their risk of sun overexposure,sunburns and possiblyskin cancer
Environmental Working Groups 15th annual Guide to Sunscreens is a mix of good and bad news when it comes to the state of sunscreens sold in American and beyond. For instance, oxybenzone a suspected hormone-disrupting chemical that is readily absorbed into the body is now present in 40 percent of the 1,800 products EWG investigated. While that may seem high, consider this: two years ago, about 60 percent of sunscreens contained this concerning chemical.
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum Spf 30
Formulated for uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation, this pink-tinted sunscreen leaves no chalky residue.
It is vegan, gluten-, and cruelty-free. The oil-free formula contains niacinamide to smooth skin tone and hyaluronic acid to hydrate.
This product is refillable a person can simply insert a new cartridge and continue using the original packaging.
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Numerous Sunscreens Found To Contain The Carcinogen Benzene
Months ago, I published a thorough post about sunscreen, choosing the one thats right for you, tips for application, and more helpful resources. The information and tips in that article are still very relevant, but this new information should be paired with those tips and resources.
If youd like to absorb some of this information in an audio/video format, you can watch my video on the topic here.
Today, Im sad to say that some new findings have surfaced about the sunscreens that many of us use on a daily basis.
Many of my readers have albinism or have a family member with albinism, and we rely on these products to keep us safe from UV rays that cause sunburn, pre-mature aging, and skin cancer. These products are so crucial to our daily lives, and they have become an essential part of our communities.
Please continue reading to learn more. A list of resources will be at the end of the article so that you can do your own investigating if you so desire.
Disclaimer: This article applies to products sold in and regulated by agencies in the United States. It may or may not apply to products in other countries.
Facial Sunscreens Are Oil Free So Theyre More Gentle
People with sensitive skin may also find that sunscreens formulated for the body are irritating to the skin, and may cause breakouts. Sunscreens designed for the face are often non-comedogenic , so theyre not going to clog the pores. And sometimes they include other additives that make it more gentle on the skin, Garshick said.
For people with sensitive skin, Jaliman recommends avoiding sunscreens that use drying alcohol as an ingredient and turning to a cream-based sunscreen as opposed to an alcohol-based one.
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Are Chemical Sunscreens Safe
Researchers have long known that some chemical UV filters can reach the bloodstream, and have detected varying amounts of these active ingredients in urine and breast milk. In a May 2019 study, researchers at the FDA confirmed that avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsulefour of the most common ingredients in chemical sunscreens and combination formulasremained in the bloodstreams of 24 adult study participants who were assigned to reapply one of four commercially available sunscreens four times a day for four days in the lab. In some cases, these active ingredients were still detectable in varying concentrations in the participants blood for days after their last application. The researchers write that further studies are needed to determine the clinical significance of this finding and note that their findings to date do not indicate that individuals should refrain from the use of sunscreen.
In January 2020, FDA researchers released results from a follow-up study, which showed thatin addition to avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octocrylenehomosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate in sunscreen creams, lotions, and sprays can also reach and remain in the bloodstream. Without further testing, the FDA does not know what levels of absorption can be considered safe, states a press release from the agency.
Generally Sunscreen Should Last For Up To Three Years But If You Use It As Recommended You Should Run Out Long Before Then
“The FDA requires that sunscreens be labeled with an expiration date if it has not been proven to be stable for three years,” Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told BuzzFeed News. So if the sunscreen has no expiration date, this means it is okay to use for up to three years after being manufactured if it was made in the US.
As long as you store it inside, the sunscreen should be fine. Companies make sure the products are stable under a variety of temperatures and humidities that you might find indoors, said Feely.
However, excessive heat causes sunscreen to break down faster, so try to keep it in a cool place and out of direct sunlight. If the sunscreen has been sitting in the heat, like a hot car, Feely recommends discarding it after a few months.
So the three-year mark should really be treated as an upper limit, and you’re better off replacing it regularly. “As a general rule, I look at sunscreens like annuals, not perennials. I tell my patients to use sunscreens for one season and purchase a new set for next year to be safe,” Zeichner said.
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If You Can’t Find An Expiration Date Your Sunscreen Is Likely Good For Up To Three Years
The Food and Drug Administration requires all sunscreens keep their original strength for three years, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. So you probably don’t need to toss last summer’s sunscreen.
The American Academy of Dermatology also recommends writing the date you bought the sunscreen on the bottle so that you’ll know when three years has passed and it’s time to throw it out.
Signs that your sunscreen is expired can include any obvious changes in the color or consistency, according to the AAD.
But if you’re using sunscreen properly, a bottle should not last you for very long anyway.
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What Does Spf Mean
All sunscreens have a sun protection factor, or SPF. Its a measure of how well sunscreen protects against UVB rays, the type that cause sunburn. The relationship between SPF and protection is not linear: SPF 15 filters 93 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 filters 97 percent and SPF 50 filters 98 percent. Nothing blocks 100 percent of UVB rays. The American Academy of Dermatologists recommends choosing sunscreens that list a minimum SPF of 30.
Its also critical to have a sunscreen labeled as broad spectrum. This means the sunscreen has ingredients that protect against both UVB and UVA raysthe latter of which can penetrate glass, and lead to wrinkles. Both types of radiation can lead to cancer. Theres no SPF-rating equivalent for UVA rays , but a sunscreen that passes the FDAs broad-spectrum test has UVA coverage proportional to its UVB coverage.
Your chances of getting an effective SPF above 30 regardless of what the label claims are better if you buy a sunscreen labeled SPF 50 or even 70.
You might consider going with an SPF significantly above 30 for another reason. Although the FDA requires that companies prove their sunscreens help prevent sunburn, the manufacturers are ultimately responsible for ensuring the quality of their products, an agency spokesperson wrote in an email. Your chances of getting an effective SPF above 30 regardless of what the label claims are better if you buy a sunscreen labeled SPF 50 or even 70.
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Other Sunscreens Have A Tiny Jar Icon On The Back That Indicates The Expiration Date
On some bottles, you can find a tiny open jar icon along with a number such as “12M” or “18M,” according to The Sun. “12M” indicates that the sunscreen is safe to use 12 months after opening, while “18M” would mean it’s good for a year and a half.
The symbol is similar to those you can find on certain cosmetics, such as on this Smashbox primer below.
Also Great: Thinksport Spf 50+ Sunscreen
May be out of stock
*At the time of publishing, the price was $10.
For people who prefer a formula with only physical UV blockers or who need a reef-safe sunscreen, we recommend Thinksport SPF 50+. Like our other picks, its water resistant for up to 80 minutes and offers broad-spectrum protection. The Thinksport sunscreen costs nearly four times as much per ounce as our Coppertone pick.
Like most zinc-oxide-based formulas weve tested , the Thinksport sunscreen can be difficult to rub in and can leave a white cast. But some people prefer physical sunscreens for this reason: They can more clearly see where they have applied an opaque lotion versus a nearly invisible one.
Because the minerals in physical sunscreens dont repel UV rays as efficiently as chemical filters absorb them, its difficult to formulate a physical sunscreen with a high effective SPF, said Dr. Henry Lim, a Detroit-based dermatologist and Skin Cancer Foundation spokesperson. This makes Thinksports 50+ rating on this lotion appealing with proper use, it shouldin theoryprovide at least the expert-recommended minimum SPF of 30.
Thinksports spartan ingredient list may appeal to those with sensitive skin, though people with sensitive noses might not feel the same way. The formula contains added fragrance that gives it a strong fruity smell.
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How To Avoid Too Much Sun
Getting some sun exposure is vital for good health because it helps your body create vitamin D. There are multiple ways to get vitamin D, but your best bet is to get it from standing in thesun or eatingvitamin D-rich foods. In fact, sitting in the sun unexposed for about 10 minutes helps your body create roughly 10,000 units of natural vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to certain cancers, autoimmune diseases, heart disease depression, osteoporosis and many other ailments, so its important to get enough. Like almost anything, though, you can get too much of a good thing and want to make sure you avoid sunburns.
You should consider sunscreen your last resort to prevent sunburns, though. In fact, theres no clear evidence that using sunscreens actually prevents skin cancer including in the best sunscreens and some ingredients may actually fuel skin cancer.
Avoiding overexposure during peak sunlight hours, use sunglasses, and sun-protective hats and clothing . These things reduce your risk of burns without sunscreen.
Sunscreen Chemicals Build Up In Your Blood
The effects of sunscreen may linger longer than expected, too. An FDA-led 2020 studyfound that chemical sunscreen ingredients are systemically absorbed after one application, and some ingredients can stay in the blood for at least three weeks.
The sunscreen chemicals tested include avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate and octinoxate, and all six active ingredients tested readily absorbed into the bloodstream of humans in the study and at concentrations that surpass an important FDA safety threshold.
This builds onprevious research showing that sunscreen chemicals hit the bloodstream within a day of using them and at levels high enough to prompt a government investigation on safety.
We slather these ingredients on our skin, but these chemicals havent been adequately tested, Leiba says. This is just one example of the backward nature of product regulation in the U.S.
Beyond safety issues is another question: Does sunscreen even work? Environmental Working Groups found that nearly 75 percent of sunscreens dont work and/or contain concerning ingredients that are readily absorbed by the body.
Things may be slowing moving in the right direction, but for now, the onus is still on the consumer to find sunscreen thats safer and actually works.
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