Consumer Health Features

New study reveals the best sunscreens to buy

By April MacIntyre Jul 5, 2008, 0:12 GMT

New study reveals the best sunscreens to buy

The sun is good in small doses for Vitamin D absorption, but full on sun bathing is a dated and dangerous folly EPA/LARRY W. SMITH

The Sun will eat your skin alive, in case you have been incommunicado for the last 35 years or so. Even seemingly to-and-fro daily exposure wreaks havoc on the skin for premature aging and pre-cancerous lesions. 

Remember Magda from “There’s Something About Mary?”

Yeah, that dreaded crepe thin leather 'twixt the breasts gully, the bane of any woman, along with “turkey wobble,” skin which gave up and refuses to adhere to the neck anymore.

The Sun is not your friend.

CNN had an interesting segment the other day with Elizabeth Cohen and a CNN staffer who examined the better sunscreens and blocks for you to invest in.

Miami Magda

Miami Magda

SPF 30 or higher is first and foremost where you need to begin. 

But look for the UVA AND UVB blocking words on the bottle.  The best blocker will include ingredients like opaque compounds titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which come in skin colors other than old school surfer boy white.  Micronizing technology makes both appear more transparent on the skin.

Number one rule: Don’t wait until you are at the beach or poolside to smear it on.  Do it after your shower in the morning.

Sunlight is made of two types of ultraviolet light: UVB rays, which cause sunburns, and UVA rays, which tan.  Although both may increase the risk of skin cancer, sun damage and wrinkles, the FDA only requires UVB protection, according to Cohen.

Experts agree, avoid the sun between the daytime hours of 11 and 3, catch early rays or late afternoon sunshine to keep your Vitamin D levels where they need to be.

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, also released their investigation of nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreens that says four out of five don't adequately protect consumers and may contain harmful chemicals.

The group says that some of the products of the nation's leading brands -- including industry standards Coppertone, Neutrogena and Banana Boat -- were the poorest performers.

Coppertone – according to the group - had 41 products fail to meet the group's criteria for issues ranging from failing to protect adequately to containing potentially harmful ingredients to making unsubstantiated claims.

Cohen introduced some brands that did fit the bill for good daily protection, and laid out the Olay brand Complete, SPF 30 face lotion that tackled both UVA and UVB. 

The Olay line features a range of face and body products that measured up according to dermatologists and the EWG. Their non-comedogenic sunscreen provides a full spectrum UVA/UVB protection against 97% of the sun’s most harmful rays, according to Olay.  Along with regular Olay Complete, there is Olay Complete Defense SPF 30 for Sensitive Skin with Vitamin E, Aloe and Green Tea Extract (100% PABA free).   

All who study the deleterious effects of sunlight exposure on skin agree more stringent requirements – as well as testing – needs to keep the industry on the level with consumers.

Cohen noted that the ingredient Oxybenzone -  a popular UV filter in many sunscreens – is under fire by many who feel the ingredient is harmful.

The Environmental Working Group also claims Oxybenzone can penetrate the skin and pose health concerns, anything from hormone disruption to cancer.
The industry and the FDA refute this claim.

Using the lotion properly is key to skin safety too. Dermatologists say that an ounce (handful) of sunscreen should be applied to all exposed areas 30 minutes before going outside and should be reapplied every two hours, or immediately if you swim or sweat.

Kids and sun: Experts agree that children under 6 months old should be kept out of direct sun. Children need sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, and applied frequently.

If sunscreen bothers you, try using physical barrier, such as the earlier mentioned zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.  Clinique, Estee Lauder and several cosmetic lines make great full barrier foundation makeup that is perfect to protect the face, neck, tops of your hands and décolleté, so you don’t get the dreaded Magda look.

Continuous coverage by Clinique rocks for wear and dependability when near the shore, on a boat or outdoors for an extended period of time. Shiseido makes a high SPF stick foundation that works nicely too.

Also, don’t ever wear gloss at the pool or beach; it hastens potential lip/skin cancer. Wear an opaque matte lip color.  Invest in a hat (if you color your hair, it will keep your hair from drying out and the color from oxidizing and pulling red), and don’t forget your sunglasses.  Unprotected eyes deteriorate in the sun.

Find out how your name brand sunscreen scored according to the EWG: LINK

Other sun products that were recommended by the EWG:

Badger SPF 30 suncream                                                                            Blue Lizard Blue Lizard Australian Suncream Lotion, Sensitive, SPF 30
Blue Lizard Australian Suncream Lotion, Baby, SPF 30+
Blue Lizard Australian Suncream Lotion, Face, SPF 30+
California Baby California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance, SPF 30+
California Baby Sunscreen Lotion Natural Bug Blend, SPF 30+
California Baby Sunscreen Lotion Everyday/year-Round, SPF 30+
California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+
California Baby Sunblock Stick Everyday/year-Round, SPF 30+
CVS Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide, SPF 45+
Jason Natural Cosmetics Jason Natural Cosmetics Sunbrellas Mineral Based Physical Sunblock, SPF 30+
Kiss My Face Kiss My Face Face Factor Paraben Free, SPF 30
Kiss My Face 100% Paraben Free Sunscreen with Oat Protein, SPF 30
Neutrogena Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion, SPF 30
Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer, Sensitive Skin, SPF 30
Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer, SPF 30
SkinCeuticals Skinceuticals Physical UV Defense, SPF 30
Solar Sense Solar Sense Clear Zinc, for Face, SPF 45                             
Vanicream SPF 35 sportcreme
Walgreens Walgreens Sunblock with Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose & Ears, SPF 45+




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