admin - July 8, 2010
A group called the Environmental Working Group just released a new report on the effectiveness of sunscreens, and the findings are shocking… According to this report, most sunscreens do not do what they claim. For example, the SPF numbers above 50 are a fiction. Plus, some sunscreens actually have ingredients that can speed up the creation of free radicals, leaving you more at risk for skin cancer.
If you want to read our summary article and link to the full report, please visit our Sunscreen Update page.
As a mother, this report is incredibly frustrating. I slather sunscreen on my kids before camp. I send sunscreen with them in their backpacks and request that the counselors remind them (and help the younger one) reapply after swimming. Every morning I pull them out of bed and make them apply the stuff.
Besides the fact that we buy so much sunscreen that it has become an expense item on our family finance spreadsheet, the groans of annoyance and despair can probably be heard at your house, wherever you live.
The only benefit here is that I feel somewhat vindicated. Despite all of my sunscreen lathering, both of my girls suffered sunburns on their cheeks and noses. I blamed myself. Maybe I wasn’t applying correctly? Maybe they weren’t re-applying during the day?
Now I just know I was buying the wrong thing and making the mistake of believing the packaging. When a sunscreen claims to be broad spectrum and a higher SPF, I assumed that meant it actually was. Clearly, this is not so. Consider this statement by the EWG report,
“In August 1978 FDA began developing comprehensive regulations for sunscreen safety and effectiveness. Nearly 32 years have passed, yet the agency has yet to issue final regulations. As a result, sunscreen manufacturers in the U.S. are free to market products that do not offer the best available combination of safety and effectiveness. As well, manufacturers can make advertising claims unsupported by mandatory testing.”
So now we know. Buyer beware, and in the meantime, wear a hat and find the shade.
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