Have you heard all the hullabaloo around sunscreen these days? Ay Carumba! It seems that the FDA released a study recently that found Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate or retinol), found in many sunscreens, may actually speed the development of tumors and skin lesions (21% faster than products w/o Vitamin A). What?!!! Are you kidding me? Then to top it off, another ingredient found in many sunscreens, Oxybenzone, can trigger allergic reactions, is a potential hormone disruptor and can penetrate the skin in large amounts. For this reason, experts caution that oxybenzone should not be used on children. The skin, being our largest organ, is like a sponge and is susceptible to all the toxins we put on it. You can read more about the effects of Vitamin A, Oxybenzone and other nanomaterials at the non-profit, Environmental Working Group’s 2010 Guide to Sunscreen website.
Just days after a friend had told me this news at the park, I received my email subscription to GOOP, where Gwyneth Paltrow is talking about Vitamin D and how much sun we need and references the same EWG website. Law of Attraction, divine guidance…what’s going on here?? Now I’m really worried and read through the entire EWG website. Afterward, I go to my cabinet and read through the ingredients on all the sunblock I own. Banana Boat — gone, Coppertone — gone, Rocky Mountain Sunscreen — gone, Peter Thomas Roth — gone, Neutragena — gone and on and on. I throw out all but one of them and am pretty ticked off during the process. Not only have I spent a fair amount of money on these tubes, but I feel tricked and pissed-off about how I’ve actually been damaging my skin (and my family’s) over the past decade.
Ok, so now what? Working off the list provided by the EWG, I’ve already been trying out several of the sunblocks with ratings of 1 or 2 on the scale (meaning the least toxic and most effective). Here’s what I’m liking:
#1. Keys Solar Rx Broad Spectrum Sunblock sinks in like dream, has no whitish residue and smells a bit like rosemary. I found it online for $26 and I really, really like it. It’s falls under the EWG category of Sunscreen Moisturizers and is highly-rated on Amazon. I haven’t found this locally yet, but am keeping my eyes peeled for it. If you find it in your neighborhood, please let me know.
#2. After reading the reviews on Marie Veronique Moisturizing Face Screen, I decided to try it. You can buy this either with tint or without, and I decided to go for the Light Tint. It’s fantastic. The consistency is much more like a tinted moisturizer than a thick sunscreen lotion. There is no white cast to it, which is surprising since it has 24% zinc oxide. The coverage of the Light Tint is enough that I am not using any make-up on top to even out my complexion. I just pop on some blush and powder on my t-zone and am done. So, even though this product costs $40, you’re really getting 2-for-1. Since buying it, I haven’t used a drop of foundation on my skin.
They also have a Kid Safe Screen, which I will probably get and use in combination with something else for the body (read cheaper). Apparently, it is so gentle and safe that you can even use it around the eyes.
The next three products, I’m going to lump together. Although they are highly-rated under the Beach & Sport category, I’m not fully in love them. All have that whitish cast on the skin and take some doing to get them rubbed in. I get that these are physical sunscreens, which mean that they use zinc oxide (which is white) to block the sun rather than a non-mineral blocker (chemical), and that they are water-resistant. Still, I am looking for the holy grail here.
#5. All-Terrain AquaSport Performance, SPF 30 – Excellent at staying on while swimming.
I’ll continue on the quest for the best of the best. If you’ve tried other sunscreens from the list, please let me know and if you like them or dislike them. I’m going to try the Beyond Coastal Active Sunscreen next to see how the non-mineral blocks compare.
What are your thoughts on this whole sunscreen hullabaloo? Much ado about nothing or are you taking it seriously?