The Environmental Working Group put out a study of over 1,700 sunscreens on the market in the U.S. (Canada’s products are strikingly similar) finding that only 21% of the sunscreens they tested were both safe and effective.
We all want to protect ourselves from the sun, but have we ever considered protecting ourselves from the chemicals lurking in regular sunscreens?  Coppertone, Banana Boat and Neutrogena’s products consistently ranked as the “worst offenders” in the EWG’s report – these are popular brands!

Some of the risks of regular sunscreens included:

Hormone Disruptors
Ingredients like parabens, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and fragrance are used in the base of sunscreens and other personal care products.  These are chemicals known to have health risks, including hormone disruption.

Cancer-causing Active Ingredients?
Commonly used retinyl palmitate, which is a synthetic form of Vitamin A, blocks high amounts of UVB radiation – the type that causes us to burn.  However, UVA radiation penetrates our skin more deeply, and retinyl palmitate doesn’t block UVA radiation as effectively.  This can lead to longer stints in the sun without a burn, but damage to the deeper layers of skin – which has been implicated in the development of skin cancer.

Inhalation Risks
Spray sunscreens carried the highest number of risks both because of the inadequate skin coverage they may provide and the risks inherent with inhaling the toxic chemicals contained in sunscreens.

The great news is that there are simple and easy solutions available.  Firstly, as noted by EWG, sunscreen is a last line of defense from the sun.  Before you slather on sunscreen, you can also:

  • Wear clothes, hats, and sunglasses that protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s rays
  • Plan outdoor activities during off-peak hours, avoiding high sun times
  • Check the UV index, and make decisions to help avoid overexposure
  • Spend time in the shade while outdoors

After you’ve done what you can to limit sun overexposure, know that there are some safe and effective natural, mineral-based sunscreens available on the market.

Badger Group Shot

Badger Sunscreens are the top selling sunscreen in the natural market and one of our favourites at Healthoholics – for good reason!  They steadily received great ratings from the Environmental Working Group in their study and they utilize non-nano zinc oxide – the safest mineral active ingredient known for sunscreen.  Additionally, Badger’s Sunscreens are marine environment safe, not tested on animals, certified organic and offer wide UVA and UVB protection.

So, this summer do what you can to protect yourself from the sun – but also from your sunscreen. Happy sunning!

Veronica Qubrossi

Veronica is a Holistic Nutritionist and Managing Director at Healthoholics, where she directs clinic operations, leads educational initiatives including our Holistic Weight Loss program, and manages our marketing efforts.