Safest sunscreen to use on your family

Safest sunscreen to use on your family
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 6:08 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Summer weather is in full swing.

“We like to swim and get outside. He’s got too much energy to be cooped up all day,” said Justin Mayo.

The Mayos and other families are looking for a way to beat the heat this summer.

The Environmental Working Group released its Guide to Sunscreens, finding 75% of more than 1,850 products evaluated rate poorly for skin protection from the sun or have ingredients that could be harmful to health.

“Some ingredients commonly found in sunscreens have been linked to human and environmental concerns,” said Carla Burns, EWG senior director for cosmetic science. “We slather these ingredients on our skin, but many of these chemicals haven’t been adequately tested. EWG has been advocating for the Food and Drug Administration to review these ingredients for 16 years.”

The guide’s best-scoring sunscreens contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or both, which have fewer health concerns. Zinc oxide is stable in the sun, provides protection from UVA and UVB rays, and offers good broad-spectrum protection, according to EWG.

EWG’s list of recommended sunscreens includes brands at a range of price points sold across the U.S. at pharmacies and popular retail stores.

Burns recommends checking your sunscreen active ingredient list for oxybenzone.

Oxybenzone is a common active ingredient in sunscreen, found in about 15 percent of the products assessed this year, including about a third of non-mineral options, according to EWG.

The FDA has requested more research on oxybenzone, especially on:

  • allergic reactions
  • absorption through the skin
  • potential effects on hormone levels, reproduction, and development.

The FDA notes children may be more vulnerable than adults to harm from oxybenzone “because of the potential for higher absorption and bioaccumulation.”

Burns said using additional precautions such as finding shade, light-weighted clothing, and avoiding peak hours in the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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