Sunscreen Essentials

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While sun protection makes sense all year round, it’s especially crucial in the summer months. It might surprise you to learn that up to 90% of the changes we associate with aging⎯such as lines, wrinkles, and discoloration⎯can be attributed to past sun exposure. Sunburns are particularly dangerous, as they increase your risk of skin cancer. Needless to say, it’s especially important to protect children from excessive sun exposure.

Fortunately, the solution for active, sporty sun lovers is as simple as the right sunscreen. How do you determine your best option? As it happens, the FDA has just set new regulations for sun screen product labeling claims, effective by June 2012. The goal was to establish a standard test for over-the-counter sunscreen products to determine which should be labeled as “Broad Spectrum.” To earn this label, sunscreen products must protect against all types of sun-induced skin damage.

The new labeling will indicate that products labeled as both “Broad Spectrum” and “SPF 15”⎯or higher⎯not only protect against sunburn, but may also reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. By contrast, any sunscreen not labeled as “Broad Spectrum,” or that has an SPF value between 2 and 14, will be categorized simply as sunburn prevention. Learn more here:

However, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which has long strived to protect public health and the environment, these rules fall short. While they bar the industry from continuing to use misleading claims like “waterproof,” “sweat proof” and “sun block,” they still allow potentially dangerous ingredients like retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone.

The EWG recommends an array of sunscreens that provide broad-spectrum protection─both UVA and UVB─with fewer hazardous chemicals that penetrate the skin. Of the more than 600 sunscreens they analyzed for their 2011 Sunscreen Guide, they only recommend 1 in 5. Sunscreens that made the cut contain the minerals zinc or titanium, which are ideal for people looking for the best UVA protection without potentially hazardous chemicals.

None of these products contain oxybenzone or vitamin A, nor are any sprayed/powdered. For a full listing of the safest, most effective options, go to: The EWG even has a sunscreen “Hall of Shame” which showcases the most chemical-laden options:

Ultimately, your perfect sunscreen will be free of potentially harmful ingredients, while also offering maximum protection for you and your family. With that, happy beach, pool, park and BBQ adventures!

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