It’s that time of year y’all! Time for fun and sun, a Bardot pic and the perennial conversation about sunscreen. The EWG has released its 2012 report, and this time they’re focusing on the many myths about sunscreen. Their piece Sunscreen Exposed: Nine Surprising Truth, calls out some assumed facts about these potions, some of which are just plain fiction. It begins:
“Sunscreens prevent sunburns, but beyond that simple fact surprisingly little is known about the safety and efficacy of these ubiquitous creams and sprays.”
It’s true. Read the piece, but here’s a quick recap:
1. There’s no conclusive proof that it prevents skin cancer.
2. In fact, there’s even some evidence that it increases risk of melonoma.
3. While the market loves super-sky-high SPFs, there’s no proof of their efficacy and even the FDA has proposed prohibiting anything over 50 for being “misleading to the consumer.” Plus which, these high numbers actually encourage people to stay out longer.
4. We need vitamin D, and some smart unprotected sun exposure is the easiest way to get it.
5. Retinal palmitate, a type of vitamin A often used in sunscreens, is suspected of increasing the speed of skin cancer development.
6. Because standards around UVA are not stringent, many sunscreens barely protect skin from free radical damage (also known as aging).
7. Chemical sunscreens contain hormone disruptors, among other nasty ingredients, and many mineral versions now contain nanoparticles. Boo.
8. Europe’s ahead of the game on sunscreens. No surprises there.
9. The FDA has delayed the implementation of their new stricter language laws on sunscreen. That means another summer without them.
So now to you: Do you use sunscreen? Have you found a great one that’s clean? Where do you stand on the sunscreen spectrum.
I for one almost never use the stuff, preferring to limit my exposure. This past Saturday for example I sat by a pool for a little bit, taking in the rays, and then I put on a hat and moved into the shade. I know, most dermatologists would start crying if I told them that story, and I’m certainly not making recommendations: sun exposure is different for everyone. Siobhan, who has sun-sensitive Irish skin, uses sunscreen regularly and has reviewed many (that series has one of my faves in it too).
In general we encourage a logic approach to the sun: know your skin, respect the sun, and don’t fall for too much dogma on either side of the debate.