Right on the heels of estimates of widespread vitamin D deficiencies in the U.S. population — which most of us get from exposing our skin, sans sunscreen, to the sun — comes the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2010 Sunscreen Guide. For this year’s report, the EWG reviewed 500 sunscreens to test the safety of their ingredients and the veracity of their marketing claims. Of those 500, EWG researchers recommend only 39 products. The guide cites false product claims and evidence that some ingredients may even accelerate the growth of skin cancer for those that didn’t make the cut.
The good news is, you can find their list of Best Sunscreens and look up the products you’re currently using via their website. The EWG's Top Sun Safety Tips pages are full of useful information, from specific product ratings to which ingredients to look for (zinc, titatanium dioxide, avobenzone or mexoryl SX) and which to avoid (oxybenxone, vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), and added insect repellent), as well as other sun safety tips. Aside from sunscreen, you can protect yourself by wearing clothing that offers more coverage, finding shade, avoiding midday rays and wearing sunglasses, among other things.
Between the (possible) need for more vitamin D — you can have your levels tested at your doctor’s office — and the sunscreen report, getting a few minutes of exposure and covering up with lightweight clothing for longer periods outdoors is starting to sound like a good idea. What do you think? Will you change your sunscreen habits based on the current reports?
Find out more:
Via Utne Reader: The Best Sunscreen May Be No Sunscreen
Environmental Working Group's 2010 Sunscreen Guide
How Do You Get Your Vitamin D?
Vitamin D: Sunshine and So Much More
Via The New York Times: Vitamin D, Miracle Drug: Is It Science, or Just Talk?