By Dr. Mercola
With the height of the sun season upon us, health officials are telling everybody to pull out their sunscreen and slather it on.
But before you do that, it might be best to check the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2012 Sunscreen Guidei to see if your sunscreen is one of the 75 percent with potentially harmful ingredients in it.
Contrary to popular belief, many sunscreen products may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A and its derivatives, retinol and retinyl palmitate, as well as other hazardous ingredients.
While there’s disagreement on the actual level of toxicity some of the chemicals on EWG’s list have on humans, the list does provide safer alternatives, so I highly recommend using this valuable resource as a guide before you start shopping.
I will also offer my own recommendations for protecting yourself against harmful sun exposure in this article, while still making sure you’re getting the exposure you need in order to maintain healthy vitamin D levels.
This year, the EWG tested 800 commercially-available sunscreens, up from 600 tested just last year. Unfortunately, only 25 percent of these products effectively protect your skin without the use of potentially harmful ingredients, so it’s important to do your homework.
To make it onto EWG’s safe list, sunscreens must:
- Be free of oxybenzone
- Be free of retinyl palmitate (a type of vitamin A)
- Provide a maximum of SPF 50, and
- Protect against both UVA and UVB sunrays
Are You Drenching Your Skin with These Toxic Chemicals?
Oxybenzone is one of the most troublesome ingredients found in