Is your sunscreen protecting you? Report ranks sunscreens

Is your sunscreen protecting you? Report ranks sunscreens

Is your sunscreen protecting you? Report ranks sunscreens

Each year as people head to the beach for summer vacations, the photos start popping up on Facebook of dark-red, peeling skin on miserable sun-burnt children. SPFs higher than 50 provide only 2% more protection than an SPF 25-30, which protects against 97-98% of UVB rays.

Consumer Reports recommends choosing a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 40, which should increase your chances of having an actual sun protection factor of 30.

A new report released Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group claims that 73% of the 880 sunscreens it tested don't work as well as advertised or contain "worrisome" ingredients.

Parents need to be mindful that certain ingredients in sunscreen could pose safety concerns, including retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that is linked to sun sensitivity, and oxybenzone, a hormone disrupter.

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Brands like Coppertone, Banana Boat and some Neutrogena products were ranked among the worst sunscreens for kids, due to misleading SPF numbers and potentially unsafe chemicals. The line is PABA-free, (which is an allergen for some people.) For those who want to avoid the sun altogether, a self-tanner such as Ocean Potion EverGlow, can help you get the sun kissed look without the exposure.

According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma rates in the United States have been rising steadily for the last three decades and have now reached epidemic levels.

"It is important to note that the FDA regulates sunscreens as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and requires rigorous testing for sunscreen effectiveness (both SPF and Broad Spectrum)", Beth Jonas, chief scientist at Personal Care Products Council said in a statement. The numbers are more like a strong marketing ploy: People flock to high-SPF products because they think they can apply them once and forget about them, Lunder says.

The phrase "broad spectrum" signifies that a sunscreen offers some protection from UVA rays. Just make sure you're applying them every two hours.

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The issue with mineral-based products, Lunder says, is they often, when applied, tint the skin white, and don't have the cosmetic appeal of breezy sprays (which are largely ineffective because they fail to coat the skin) or SPF-tinged moisturizers.

While spray cans may not have warnings on them, Consumer Reports recommends the sprays not be used on kids. This includes educational signage in CVS stores, and more derm-approved, higher SPF, and natural and organic sunscreen options available throughout 2017. Even with a high-quality sunscreen, the organization advises those who'll be outdoors to consider wearing protective clothing and taking advantage of shades spots where possible.

"There is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen, and the FDA has now suggested its removal of the term of sunscreen bottles, no sunscreen is waterproof", Davis said.

See how your sunscreen ranks on the EWG report here.

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