which is worse: the sun or sunscreen?

by Emily on May 26, 2010

Last year I wrote an article on the safety of sunscreen for munchkins ( Is Sunscreen Safe for Kids?) .  During my research, I interviewed Chris Vaughn, President of SPF Consulting Labs –a leading independent sunscreen research center in Fort Lauderdale, FL– and was alarmed by what he said: The chemicals in sunscreen could actually be more dangerous than the sun! Researchers are questioning the long-term safety of the active ingredients, especially oxybenzone, which is found in over 90% of sunscreens, including those marketed for kids and even babies.

Now it seems that more dangers of sunscreen are being exposed.  In the AOL News article Study: Many Sunscreens May Be Accelerating Cancer (WASHINGTON – May 24) , they reveal a sunscreen study by the Environmental Working Group claiming “that only 39 of the 500 products they examined were considered safe and effective to use. The report cites these problems with bogus sun protection factor (SPF) numbers: The use of the hormone-disrupting chemical oxybenzone, which penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream. Overstated claims about performance. The lack of needed regulations and oversight by the Food and Drug Administration. But the most alarming disclosure in this year’s report is the finding that vitamin A and its derivatives, retinol and retinyl palmitate, may speed up the cancer that sunscreen is used to prevent.

If you want to find out where your sunscreen ranks, click here for the Environmental Working Group’s 2010 Sunscreen Guide.

And keep in mind, the best sunscreen is protective clothing and limiting sun exposure.


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