Best Sunscreens: Screening the Best Summer Sunscreens
As temperatures rise, so, too, will the debate about sunscreen: which types works best, whether or not higher SPF ratings are effective, even if sunscreen truly helps prevent skin cancer.
To help end consumer confusion, the FDA stepped in last year and announced labeling changes that go into effect in December 2013. In addition to stating that sunscreens labeled 'broad spectrum' protect equally against UVB and UVA rays (UVA rays cause wrinkles while UVB rays cause sunburns), the FDA will ban packaging that claims sunscreen is waterproof or sweat proof, because it deems such claims misleading.
Best makeup SPF
We've been using and recommending Jane Iredale's PurePressed Powder Foundation, SPF 20, for years. And according to the May 2012 'Best Sunscreens' report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG.org), this product is among only 50 SPF makeups recommended for safety and efficacy. Get Jane Iredale's PurePressed Powder Foundation with broad spectrum SPF 20 protection for $52 at janeiredale.com.
Best SPF for kids
When it comes to protecting children, remember to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before heading outdoors, reapply every two hours, and use hats and protective clothing when possible. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents avoid using sunscreen on children younger than six months of age.) Elemental Herbs Sports/Kids Sunscreen SPF 30+ is certified organic by the USDA, with 75percent certified organic ingredients; it's packed with non-nano zinc oxide to provide UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection that is hypo-allergenic and non-greasy. Get it for $15.99 online at elementalherbs.com.
Best sports sunscreen
Dubbed 'performance sunblocks,' the All Terrain AquaSport line of sunscreens are oxybenzone-free, serve up broad-spectrum UVA, UVB protection and are effective after 80 minutes in water. Opt for AquaSport SPF 30+; Consumer Reports named this sunscreen as one of its top picks for 2012 while EWG also names All Terrain among the 'best beach and sport sunscreens.' Shop the All Terrain collection online from $5.99 to $19.99 at allterrainco.com.
Avoid the worst sunscreens by checking ingredients. Ingredients that may carry health risks include oxybenzone, nanoscale zinc and titanium oxide. Especially when protecting children, it may be best to avoid spray sunscreens; the FDA is currently investigating potential risks associated with inhaling spray sunscreens. If your sunscreen of choice has an SPF rating of 50 or higher, bear in mind that you may not be getting much additional protection. In fact, the FDA will make SPF 50+ the highest rating allowed on a product unless the company requesting a higher SPF rating can prove higher protection then SPF 50, which is said to block 98 percent of UV rays.