When you head to the beach this July 4th weekend, make sure you pack a sunscreen that does its job.
Four out of 5 sunscreens don't give the protection you need, blocking too little of the sun's harmful UV radiation, or containing ingredients with significant safety concerns.
How does your sunscreen rank? Find out in our newly updated database of nearly 1,000 sunscreens. (http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/special/sunscreens2008/summary.php) If yours doesn't make the cut, find one that does on our Recommended Sunscreens list.
Leading brands like Coppertone, Neutrogena, and Banana Boat fared poorly. Here are our top picks:
- Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock SPF 30
- Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum SPF 30+
- California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance SPF 30+
- Badger Sunscreen SPF 30
- * Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum SPF 30+
(Under the name of Herbal Bliss Glow ! Face Elixir SPF 20)
- Lavera Sunscreen Neutral SPF 40
- Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 35
- UV Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+
- Sun Science Sport Formula SPF 30
- * Soleo Organics Sunscreen, all natural sunscreen SPF 30
You should always use sunscreen when spending time outside, but Americans don't have a good way to choose sunscreens that are safe and effective. The SPF rating is only part of what you need to know, since it only tells you about UVB (sunburn) protection. That's why EWG's rating system includes critical information on UVA protection, how stable the product is in the sun, and potential health hazards of ingredients.
Last summer, our first sunscreen investigation prompted thousands of you to send comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They'd been promising safety standards since 1978, and thanks to you they finally drafted them. But the process stalled, and we're still waiting. FDA needs to hear from you.
Send an email to Dr. Jeff Shuren, who heads up the sunscreen standard process at FDA, and tell him you want safe sunscreen.