The FDA’s new sunscreen guidelines go a long way toward making sunscreen labeling clearer. But there’s still a lot to know to become an informed sunscreen shopper. Keep these safety tips from the Environmental Working Group in mind as you stock your beach bag this year:
- Avoid the sunscreen chemical oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and contaminates the body. Look for active ingredients zinc, titanium, avobenzone or Mexoryl SX.
- Sprays and powders cloud the air with tiny particles of sunscreen that may not be safe to breathe. Choose creams instead.
- New government data show that tumors and lesions develop sooner on skin coated with vitamin A-laced creams. Vitamin A, listed as “retinyl palmitate” on the ingredient label, is in 33 percent of sunscreens. Avoid them.
- SPF 50+ does not provide longer-term protection when you’re in the sun. Stick to SPF 15-50+, reapply often and pick a product based on your own skin, time planned outside, shade and cloud cover.
Skipping the sun this summer? Try these natural self-tanners to get your bronze from a bottle.