WIN-ning Wednesday: Sunscreen

It’s a hot topic this time of year: Which sunscreen is safe and effective?

There is a great tool that I recommend when people are in search of a safe and more natural sunscreen.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an organization that gathers research related to environmental health.  They have a very user friendly website that honestly reports on many environmental influences related to human health.

The EWG’s Skin Deep Database is the tool that I refer to, that lists thousands of skin care and hygiene products along with a rating for their chemical safety.  It’s really easy to use…. just type in the product of interest, or search from the listed categories.

A product with a green rating is very natural and has the least body burden based on its ingredient list.  A yellow rating means is moderate level of body burden.  Finally, a red rating means a high chemical content, and body burden.

Sunscreen is a hot topic because we have been told for decades that it’s important to protect our skin from the sun.  Recently, however, there has been an under current of information saying that the chemical composition of sunscreen may not be healthy for us.  That sunscreens may contain potentially harmful ingredients.

Naturally, this becomes an alarming, and confusing, concern… Is something that’s supposed to protect us, also be harming us?

With The Skin Deep Database I can type in the product I’m wondering about and read all about:

1) A consistent opinion on the purity of the product

2) The chemical ingredients by clicking on the name of it

3) See the rating EWG gives the product based on what they know about it

Also, a quick reference on the page can be seen on the left side bar where a summary of the sunscreen’s effectiveness and level of health concern is posted.

Here are some ways I’ve used the database to learn more about sunscreen…

1) Product comparison from the same brand:

Coppertone Water Babies (SPF 50 ) has a yellow rating (3/10) versus Coppertone KIDS Sunscreen Lotion (SPF 70) has a red rating (7/10).  Choosing a mainstream sunscreen that has less body burden for children can be beneficial.

2) Product comparison from different brands:

Compare the mainstream Coppertone sunscreen with the more natural sunscreens that have a green rating.

Coppertone sunscreens versus Jason Natural Sunbrellas: Mineral Natural Sunscreen with SPF 30 has a green rating (2/10).  It has a good level of effectiveness with low health concern.

3) Look at the the different natural sunscreens that I’m familiar with, or that are available for purchase in the stores I shop at, to see which have the most natural ingredient list and that are effective.

Here’s a great article with further info on sunscreen: Sunscreens to Avoid

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