Sunscreens have been in existence for quite a long time and unfortunately we still do not know the effectiveness of these ubiquitous creams and sprays. For instance there is no consensus on whether or not sunscreens actually prevent skin cancer. The Food and Drug Administration's 2007 draft on sunscreen safety regulations say: "FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer" (FDA 2007). In a newly published study (Green 2011) of sunscreen users it found that that people who use sunscreen daily appear to have a reduced risk of melanoma, while other studies conclude that sunscreen users are at increased risk (Gorham 2007). No one has the final answer.
There is evidence that sunscreens may increase the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, for some people. There are many studies on the assessment of skin cancer and sunscreens and still there is not a valid answer. Skin cancer and melanoma cases have increased in the last 10 years. This is due in fact to the number of variables such as: sunscreen users tend to stay in the sun longer and sunscreens of years ago did not provide the UVA or UVB protection, and lastly the breakdown of the sunscreen thus releasing free radical damage. Also, there are numerous sunscreens with SPF of 50 or higher. These high SPF products lead people to believe they can stay in the sun that much longer and actually exposing themselves to skin damage. Additionally in the testing of these SPF products they use 2 to 5 times more than what people actually apply.
What about vitamin D which we all need. Over the last two decades there is an increasing amount of vitamin D deficiency. Seven of every 10 U.S. children now have low levels of vitamin D. The American Medical Association recommends 10 minutes of sunlight per day, naturally without sunscreen. However the American Academy of Dermatology recommends vitamin D supplements.
There is currently to many sunscreen products on the market that does not block all UV rays, does not harm immune suppression, and does not have free radicals or is not a potential hormone disrupter! The only choices we have are chemical sunscreens or mineral sunscreens such as zinc and titanium. The Environmental Working Group has determined "that mineral sunscreens have the best safety profile of today's choices. They are stable in sunlight and do not appear to penetrate the skin. Additionally, they offer UVA protection, which is sorely lacking in most of today's sunscreen products".
Below I have listed a few of the sunscreens which the Environmental Working Group's 2011 has determined to be the safest and most effective. Play and be safe this summer and know what you are putting on your skin and that of your family.
Aubrey Organics - Natural Sun Sport Stick - unscented SPF 30
True Natural Cosmetics - All natural sunscreen, SPF 40
To see the whole list of "safest sunscreens" visit the Environmental Working Group
Hope you will stop by and visit my Shine blog for skin care and hair care articles!