The sun is finally out again. I did not realize that finding an eco friendly or green sunscreen was a difficult task, especially when one is on vacation. EWG reports that UV filtering ingredients in sunscreen have been proven to cause bleaching in the algae that lives on coral, thus killing the entire structure. EWG only recommended 8% of the sunscreens they tested.
The Food and Drug Administration revamped sunscreen rules in June 2011. The new rules should help demystify the sun blocking properties of sunscreens.
There are other issues that EWG covers with possible problems with other chemicals in sunscreen. Also: “80 percent of our water in the U.S. shows trace amounts of chemicals from personal care products, which could be sunscreens, lotions, colognes or medications.”
What is SPF?
SPF or Sun Protection Factor is a number that measures how long the sunscreen blocks UVB sunlight. These rays cause sunburn and skin cancer. With no sunscreen, your skin will burn in ten minutes, if you applied a SPF 10 sunscreen, the 10 minutes would be multiplied by 10, resulting in 100 minutes of protection. Note that this rating does not cover UVA sunlight, which also causes cancer and premature aging. It is important to reapply sunscreen after the initial protection period, and after swimming or sweating.
Sunscreens called broad spectrum block both UVA and UVB rays.
“66 sunscreens with SPFs from 55-100+ might tempt you to stay out longer in the sun, but they block just 1-2% more sunburn rays than an SPF 30 sunscreen.” SPF 30 protection is good enough
Ingredients to Look for in Sunscreen
- Look for sunblock with 7% or higher zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
- The FDA mandates that sunscreens maintain their strength for 3 years. This life span would be decreased if you place them in the hot sun.
Ingredients to Avoid Sunscreen
- OXYBENZONE, OCTINOXATE, and ALUMINUM STARCH OCTENYLSUCCINATE
- Oxybenzone has been linked to hormone disruption and low-birthweight babies.
Sunscreens to Buy
EWG has some good sunscreen that meets our criteria. Some good best are:
- Kiss my Face Sunscreen Natural Mineral Lotion
- Desert Essence – Age Reversal Sunscreen Mineral Daily Face Protection spf 30 – 3 oz
- All Terrain AquaSport
See our Eco Friendly or Green Cosmetic post for details.