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Summer is Here and So Is Sun Damage

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, July 03, 2009 7:29 PM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Environmental Working Group, Sunscreen, Sun Damage, Skin, Dermatology, UVA, UVB, FDA

For the third year, the Environmental Working Group has issued its annual sunscreen report looking at the best and the safest.

Environmental Working Group Sunscreen Guide 2009 

With summer officially here as of June 21, and Independence Day this weekend, sunscreen might be in your bag. But which is best?  Once again, the reliable Environmental Working Group (EWG) has issued a report on the best, the questionable, and the worst of them.

“I’d give the industry a C minus,” says Jane Houlihan, EWG’s senior VP for research, speaking to WebMD.  That is an improvement from the D they had previously in her estimation.

Still this report, the 2009 Sunscreen Guide, which reviewed 1,571 products, reveals that 70 percent now have UVA filters, up from 29 percent just last year.

Top brands that have been reformulated to include better UVA protection include Solbar, Zia Natural Skincare, Nivea, L’Oreal, and Hawaiian Tropic. 

Part of the reason for the study is the failure of the Food and Drug Administration to set safety standards for sunscreens, particularly the protection against UVA rays, those rays associated with wrinkles and sagging skin as well as skin cancer.  UVB generally leads to skin cancer and sunburns.

WebMD says the 2009 Sunscreen Guide is flawed. “The report has somewhat of an alarmist tone” says Henry Lim, MD chairman of the department of dermatology at Henry Ford Health Systems.  He also says some of the points are correct.

 The lobbying group for personal care products, the Personal Care Products Council calls the report “unscientific and unsubstantiated” because they didn’t consider the controversial ingredient’s stability in the formulation. 

2009 Guide

Among the 1,572 sunscreens, lip balms and daily moisturizers included in this, the third annual guide from EWG, they all have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. 

Only five percent meet the overall criteria for safety and effectiveness. 

Watch out for the ingredient oxybenzone, which is absorbed into the body and EWG says disrupts the hormone system. 19 percent fewer sunscreens now contain it.  

Ironically the most popular sunscreens, Coppertone, Neutrogena and Banana Boat have none or just a couple of their products that made the grade. 

Among the ten best from the 2009 Sunscreen Guide are: 

·         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.

Lip Balm Best:

·         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 


Posted by Ken Cook
Saturday, July 04, 2009 2:15 PM EST

Jane, thanks so much for posting on this. I'll get around to doing some posts for the site before too long--it's a terrific resource.

And my best to Steve.

Posted by Wayne Parsons
Sunday, July 05, 2009 3:44 PM EST

Jane: Terrific article and thanks for alerting the public to skin care that can prevent cancer. I also hope that people will start to flock to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that does so much credible reporting on consumer issues.

Posted by James Cool
Sunday, July 05, 2009 5:33 PM EST

I have to use SPF 9,000,000 because I'm practically translucent.

Nice post, Jane. :)

Comments for this article are closed.

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