Scientists discover many sunscreens higher than SPF50 may be harmful and don't provide much more protection from the sun's harmful rays.
The summer is coming and with it, outdoor activities that expose us to the sun’s harmful rays. Children in particular are at risk of sunburn with their carefree attitude to playing outside and being unaware of the sun’s effects on their skin.
Skin cancer rates in the U.S. are on the rise with 76,000 cases of melanoma expected to occur this year. So it’s important to understand what products currently available are suitable for staving off sunburn and which, in particular are the best for your children.
Many sunscreens are marketed towards children but according to a new study from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), almost three quarters of those available to us do not match up to standards by containing less protection than advertized and even harmful ingredients. Scientists tested 750 different sunscreens focusing on babies and young children.
It was found that most of the children’s sunscreen showed little difference to regular sun lotions and were often more expensive. The report urges parents to think about what sunscreen they are putting on their kids – it should be at least SPF30-50 – although additionally covering up their skin with clothes is much more safe.
It was also found that any sunscreen above SPF50, although seemingly a better option, will almost have no more beneficial effects because they do not contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are important in the protection of our skin. In addition, they contain harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone, a hormone disrupter, and retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that could potentially break down when exposed to UV light and forming into something that could damage the skin.
The best advice along with suitable sunscreen is to avoid the afternoon sun when it’s at its strongest, find shady areas to sit in and cover up with a hat and light clothes.
Find a comprehensive list of the best sunscreen lotions from the EWG here.