Wednesday, July 7, 2010

BQOTD: Sunscreen

During college, I worked at a rafting company. Over the course of my time there, I started to notice that on days that I applied sunscreen, I actually burnt worse than on days that I forgot to. We're talking hard-core, blistering sunburns while wearing sunscreen.

A few years later, I had insurance coverage that allowed me to see a dermatologist, so I went. And I asked my dermatologist about the sunscreen issue. She told me that I was most likely allergic to one of the chemicals in sunscreen, and getting a chemical burn from it rather than a sunburn. Ouch.

She recommended La Roche Posay's Anthelios sunscreen, which I've been using since to GREAT results. But it's expensive, and I have to order it through the mail. So I was also hoping to identify back-up sunscreens that I could buy in stores in case I'm out (or in my current case, have misplaced a brand new tube of the stuff).

I headed over to The Environmental Working Group's 2010 Sunscreen Guide, and I was really surprised at what I read. Basically, the EWG ranks sunscreen based on UVB protection, UVA protection, UVA/UVB balance, sunscreen stability, and health concerns.

I had no idea that there were so many health concerns related to sunscreen--for example, did you know that many sunscreens (41% in the US) contain Vitamin A? Vitamin A is typically used as an anti-aging agent in night creams, which is fine. However, when coupled with sun exposure, Vitamin A has been shown (by FDA studies) to speed the development of cancerous tumors. Wow. Luckily for you and me, the EWG's guide notes which sunscreens contain Vitamin A.

So I'm curious--what sunscreen are you using, and how does it score from the EWG?


  1. Holy crap, we are using Aveeno Baby on Ella and it's rated a 7!

  2. Awesome, I've been using the Neutrogena Age Shield which is also a terrible 7. For Isaac we've been using some Banana Boat, which is also a 7. Yikes.

  3. This all makes sense! I use Aveeno face sunscreen and I always feel like I'm better off not using it because I swear I get a chemical burn when I do use it. Thanks for the info!!

  4. Crazy! Daily I use Oil of Olay and that is an ok 5. When we go out to the lake or swimming we just have some Kroger brand.. it's not even showing up on their list. Hmmm.

  5. I use Melaleuca and it's rated a 4, so just ok...I never go out and tan but I am pretty bad about putting it on before I'm going out and just running around doing errands, I really need to be better about this!

  6. No sunscreen usage in this family :) We use coconut oil only...I've done far too much research on the perils (and scary, scary stats re: sunscreen & cancer) to even mess with the stuff anymore.

    I know, you (and everyone else) think I'm crazy, but...I'm telling you, sunscreen is bad stuff.

  7. I use The Face Shield from Neutrogena on my whole body! I love it! It's the only sunscreen I've found that works and doesn't irritate me!

  8. We are using California Baby for our girls and it's rated between 1 and 2.
    I've started using it as well.
    It is a pain to get on the skin since it's very thick and takes awhile to get rubbed in and it's not cheap either.

    Great post!

  9. I had no idea there were so many things about sunscreen! I lather it on like nobody's business, but now I'm going to check things out!

  10. I use Panama Jack which is a 7, yikes!! I still can't decide if it's better to wear sunscreen or just not bother! My mom seems to think that it's better to not wear it, but she also limits her time in the sun to 2-3 hours a day. We're outside from 7am-4pm most weekends, and I'll be crispy if I don't use something!

  11. mere,

    the truth? i have basically done away w/sunscreen. after much research and a deeper understanding about what is in them, we have opted out. (there is some in my face lotion so we've not entirely eliminated).

    the whole hype about staying out of the sun at all costs, does not line up with what i believe to be healthy: moderate exposure to the sun, which our bodies love and convert to vitamin d.

    (funny, after typing this, i just read the comment by mrs. lukie - great comment! i don't think you are crazy. =0)


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