Is Sunscreen Safe?

Most people believe using sunscreen is healthy, safe and prevents short and long-term skin issues. While it's true, sunburns and overexposure can be painful and possibly dangerous, we are now learning that certain sunscreens can be even more harmful than bare skin. Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep website lists 9 surprising truths about sunscreens. The list points out that there is no data that proves sunscreen prevents cancer and some sunscreen ingredients actually increase the risk of cancer. Although EWG points out many flaws, they also give factual reasons for the flaws and how to make better choices when deciding how to protect your skin.

For example, vitamin A (retinyl palmitate/retinol) is added to about a third of all sunscreens because it is an antioxidant shown to slow the aging of skin. What scientists have recently found out is that when Vitamin A is exposed to sunlight it breaks down and speeds the development of skin tumors and lesions. So, the EWG recommends avoiding sunscreens with vitamin A.

One of the most important things to remember when protecting yourself from UV rays is using hats, clothing and shade as a barrier is the best method. Also, avoid direct sunlight at the peak of day when the sun is the strongest. And remember, the sun is not our enemy. We need the sun to create Vitamin D in our bodies. Limited amounts of sunshine are healthy but when you do need to wear sunscreen, do your own research, check the label, choose one without Vitamin A and enjoy your time in the great outdoors!

For more information and the complete list of sunscreen truths visit:

Alex Goldberg