Know Your Sunscreens- 2017 Update

This is an update to article originally produced in May, 2016, and includes the newest highly-rated sunscreens for 2017.

While the skin is one of the biggest detox organs in your body it can also absorb unwanted chemicals and phytoestrogens via topical sprays and lotions. Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group has reviewed over 1000 sunscreens (1 = best, 10 = worst) to guide you on which products to choose for your family.

In general, you want to avoid sprays, SPF values above 50+, and products that contain oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate.

You’ll also want to check out EWG’s best beach and sport sunscreens as well as their best scoring sunscreen lotions for kids.

Below are a few products to consider and a few to avoid. Don’t leave it to retailers to vet these products for you. They make buying decisions based primarily on profitability and not on health.

Consider these sunscreens for you and your kids:

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen, Green Tea, SPF 45

Badger Kids Sunscreen Cream, Tangerine & Vanilla, SPF 30

MyChelle Sun Shield, Unscented, SPF 28

Good to Know

Here’s a great example to two sunscreens sold together in same package at Costco.

Coppertone Sport High Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30 scores a 3/10 (very good) while its companion, Coppertone Sport High Performance Clear Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 30 scores a 7/10 (bad). This is because spray products tend to contain more harmful chemicals.


Avoid these popular sunscreens

Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70

Coppertone Sunscreen Continuous Spray Kids, SPF 70

Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100

 Common Sense Tips for Avoiding Sunburns

As always, physical barriers are your best defense against the sun. You should use hats and UV- protective clothing when you know you’ll be exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. Remember to wear sunglasses as well. Extended eye exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to eye damage, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and even temporary loss of vision.

For more information

Want to know how to read a sunscreen label? Check out this infographic: What to Look for on New Sunscreen Labels.

What causes a sunburn? Read this thorough explanation from the Mayo Clinic: Sunburn Causes.

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