Choose safer sunscreens: EWG's 2011 Sunscreen Guide

The best and worst sun care products on the market.

EWG Senior Vice President For Research Jane Houlihan said, "Many sunscreens available in the U.S. may be the equivalent of modern-day snake oil, plying customers with claims of broad-spectrum protection but not providing it, while exposing people to potentially hazardous chemicals that can penetrate the skin into the body."

What's especially scary about these products are that the ones made especially for little ones seem to get the worst ratings. Of the nine sun protection products on the EWG's "Hall of Shame", four of those were sunblock products specifically for babies and one is a brand geared toward kids.

And it's not just the less expensive, generic sunscreens that are on the "Hall of Shame" list. Three of those listed are high-end, expensive brands geared toward adults.

As for the highly-rated sunscreens, the majority of the brands on the "Top Sunscreens" list are made by natural and organic lines like Alba Botanica, Aubrey Organics and Kiss My Face. Of course, many of those listed can only be found at natural markets (Whole Foods, etc.) as opposed to most typical grocery stores, and may be pricier than the drug store brands. But when it comes to your health and safety, cost shouldn't matter.

So before you slap on your usual brand (which contains goodness-knows-what) and head out to catch some rays, check out the EWG's 2011 Sunscreen Guide to see if you need to be exchanging it for some safer sun protection.

Information via EWG; photo via


Every year, The Environmental Working Group tests hundreds of different sunscreen products on the market and reports on which ones are best for sun protection and which could be potentially harmful to your health. This year, they rated hundreds of sun care products — from drug store brands to the high-end, beauty counter labels and even lip balms, moisturizers and makeup with SPF — and have recently released this year's Sunscreen Guide to help consumers make better choices when looking for UV protection.

Believe it or not, the majority of sunscreens on the market only protect against only one of three kinds of skin cancer, melanoma not included, and many also contain chemicals that could lead to adverse health effects. And, as with many cosmetic and personal care products on the market, the FDA does not strictly regulate what goes into these products nor do they test the advertising claims that many companies make.

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