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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sunscreen and the EWG

Ask Moxie is hosting a really good discussion on the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) sunscreen guide for 2010.

Main take-away:


Some reader's perspectives:
  • From Cloud:
    In the meantime, we'll keep using our sunscreens. I know with quite a bit of certainty that unprotected exposure to the sun can cause cancer- I can even explain the mechanism. These chemicals? My take is that there are some studies that indicate they may cause cancer. But there has not been a single definitive peer-reviewed study, because man, that would have been a high profile paper that I would not have missed.

  • From paola:
    When it comes to sunscreens, avoid the following:

    benzophenone 3: absorbed through the skin. Can cause allergic reactions, foto- sensitivity, hormonal problems.

    PABA: will be banned in EU as from October for same reasons as benzophenone 3.

    methylbenzylidencamphor: studies on animals suggest it effects thyroid function. Penetrates the skin barrier and can cause allrgies.

    Source: Italian Consumer magazine Altroconsumo, June 2010.

  • From Jenna:
    Mexoryl or Tinosorb are the only two sunscreen ingredients that are actually effective at blocking UVA. Avobenzone (aka Parsol), the UVA blocker used in most US sunscreens, actually degrades in sunlight. Though the FDA finally approved Mexoryl a few years ago, it's still nigh impossible to find a sunscreen with Mexoryl here in the US. According to the EWG report, Tinosorb still isn't approved yet.

    I buy all my sunscreen in Canada. My favorites are La Roche-Posay Anthelios or Hydraphase UV in SPF 30. (Sephora carries Hydraphase, but only SPF 15.) L'Oreal Ombrelle and Vichy are also good. FYI these are all brands you can find at an ordinary drugstore in Canada. My Vichy SPF 60 body sunblock has Mexoryl, octorcrylene, titantium dioxide, and avobenzone, all of which are on the low or moderate risk lists on the EWG site

If this concerns you, be sure to read the ingredient list on every formulation of your favourite brand. Ingredients change formulation to formulation, including but not limited to the addition of chemicals in children's formulations that are not present in the adult brand.

A bit about chemical and mineral sunscreens at Venusian Glow.

For more about sunscreen, read the Skin Cancer Foundation's answer to the question What are the basic sunscreen ingredients, and what protection does each offer?

2010_06_01_moxie_sunscreen


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