Summer Skin Safety: Our Sunscreen Shopper’s Checklist

This time of year, it seems everything on the top of our minds starts with an “s”: Summer, surf, sun, and skin. And the “s” we really don’t want you to forget before frolicking in the waves? Sunscreen.

But there’s a lot to consider when choosing your sunscreen; it’s not as simple as choosing a high SPF or a pretty package. Before you grab any old bottle of UV blocker off the drugstore shelf, we have a shopping checklist to make sure you get the best pick for your skin:

1. SPF – According the the Environmental Working Group, the difference between an SPF 50 and an SPF 110 is incredibly small. Also, people who choose a sunblock with a higher SPF use it as an excuse to not reapply as often as necessary.

2. Vitamin A - Though we love to load up on vitamins, it turns out this is one that we should avoid, at least in our sunscreens. Vitamin A, in a form called retinyl palmitate, may actually accelerate the development of skin cancer. Retinyl palmitate is present in about 40% of sunscreens on the market today – check your label before you buy.

3. Minerals – Some say the best form of skin protection might be “mineral blockers” like zinc or titanium oxide, which block UV rays. There’s some debate about whether the nanoparticles are safe (some say they can penetrate skin), but if you choose to go with a mineral blocker, go with one that contains avobenzone, which blocks UVA and UVB rays.

Soon, the FDA will help clarify ll of this confusing information will soon be rectified: the FDA is approving a new sunscreen labeling system that will this be enacted this October. Not quite in time for summer, but we’ll take it.

via Mother Jones

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