It’s a huge comparison study and the results might surprise you. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) looked at 952 sunscreens that are widely available in the US and analysed both the safety of the ingredients and the effectiveness of the products. Only 15% made it to the recommended list.

(EWG) … found that 4 out of 5 sunscreen products offer inadequate protection from the sun, or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns. Leading brands were the worst offenders: None of market leader Coppertone’s 41 sunscreen products met EWG’s criteria for safety and effectiveness, and only 1 of 103 products from Banana Boat and Neutrogena, the second- and third-largest manufacturers, are recommended by EWG.

[Emphasis mine.]

I am very pleased to report that the sunscreens on sale at Advanced Rejuvenation are all on the recommended list — the only exception is our Vivier sunscreens which weren’t tested by EWG.

EWG is very concerned about UVA coverage. The SPF rating of a sunscreen refers only to UVB protection and yet UVA causes skin cancer and aging of the skin.

The Elta MD and Ti-Silc sunscreens that we carry here are active against both UVA and UVB.

Some chemical sunscreens are degraded very quickly in the sun, making the product completely ineffective in as little as 30 minutes so you need to choose products recommended by EWG to be certain that they will remain active during sun exposure.

You can’t judge it just by looking at the active ingredients because the presence of stabilizing agents can make an unstable product last longer. For instance, EWG lists these chemical sunscreens as being unstable: Avobenzone (PARSOL 1789 | BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE), Homosalate and Octinoxate (OCTYL METHOXYCINNAMATE). Octinoxate is present in the Elta MD sunscreens which EWG recommends so Elta must put enough stabilizing agents in their sunscreens to keep the octinoxate active.

EWG recommends avoiding spray and powder forms of sunscreens because some active ingredients can be toxic when absorbed by the lungs. They can get into the lungs when aerosolized during application. The same ingredients are not absorbed by the skin so are not toxic when applied as a cream or lotion.

EWG is a “team of scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers and computer programmers [who] pore … over government data, legal documents, scientific studies and [their] own laboratory tests to expose threats to your health and the environment, and to find solutions. [Their] research brings to light unsettling facts that you have a right to know.”

Ultimately, EWG is pressuring the US government to tighten up the rules surrounding the composition, labelling and marketing claims for sunscreens. From the problems that they report in this study, it is obvious that their efforts are sorely needed.

If you have one of the 814 sunscreens that EWG does not recommend, come in to Advanced Rejuvenation to get a safe and effective sunscreen recommended by EWG.