The best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. But when you can’t get away from exposing yourself to the sun, use the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) top-rated sunscreens to provide UVA and UVB protection.
UVA rays are the same strength year-round. They penetrate deeper into the skin, past the out later, and can cause damage to collagen and elastin, possibly leading to premature aging and skin cancer. UVA rays can penetrate glass and clothing.
UVB rays are the rays that you blame when you get sunburn. The only penetrate the very surface of your skin. Their strength varies year-round. Most sunscreens only block UVB rays.
EWG’s top-rated sunscreens all contain the minerals zinc and titanium. None of the top-rated products contain either oxybenzone or vitamin A. They are all creams and never sprays or powders. Some of the best choices on the market include the following:
- Alba Botanica: Mineral Sunscreen
- All Terrain: Performance Sunscreen
- Beyond Coastal: Lip and Face Cream
- Jason Natural Cosmetics: Sunbrellas
- Loving Naturals
- Marie Veronique Organics
- Soleo Organics
- UV Natural
None of the following options earn EWG’s top ratings. Few people might object to mineral sunscreens due to texture, smell etc. The following are the best for people who prefer non-mineral:
- Beyond Coastal: Active Sunscreen
- Bull Frog: Ultimate Sheer Protection
- Coppertone: Oil-free and Sport Sunblock
- Doctor T’s Supergoop: Everyday UV
- La Roche-Posay: Anthelios Water Resistant
Sunscreens to Avoid:
Banana Boat Baby Max Protect: 100
- Protects only from UVB, but leads them exposed to the deeper, more damaging UVA
iS Clinical SPF 20 Powder and Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Powder
- Research has shown that powdered mineral sunscreens can be inhaled, causing lung inflammation, and brain and tissue damage.
Hawaiian Tropic Baby Crème Lotion SPF 50
- This lotion claims to protect against UVA, but it does not. Currently, no sunscreen chemical has been shown to block UVA rays effectively. There are no current restrictions in the U. S. regulating these false claims.
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection SPF 55
- This product claims that it is “mild as water to the skin”, yet is covered with warning labels.
Anthony Logistics for Men Sunstick SPF 15
- This product claims that it is safe for the eyes, yet warms against getting it in the eyes. It is best to wear sunglasses and avoid sunblock around your eyes
Panama Jack Naturals Baby Sunblock SPF 50
- This product contains oxybenzone, which has been shown to disrupt hormones. Human studies have concluded decreased birth weights associated with oxybenzone exposure
Banana Boat Ultra Defense Sunscreen Stick SPF 50
- This product claims that is does not breakdown. Sunscreen chemicals breakdown in the sun, the water, and rub off on towels. It is best to re-apply as needed.
Baby Blanket Tender Scalp Sunscreen Spray for Babies SPF 45+
- This product does not protect against UVA rays.
Skin Cancer Foundation: Seal of Approval
- SCF-approved products are not required to protect against UVA rays or to refrain from making false safety and efficacy claims. SCF also requires that companies pay $10,000 donation to join. Currently SCF does not require its certified companies to comply with the FDA’s 2007 regulations.