A recent report, released this May, reviewed 650 sunscreens available in the US, research concluded that two-thirds of those tested offer subpar protection or contain ingredients that may harm your health.
The research conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), reviewed 650 beach and sport sunscreens for the group's annual Guide to Sunscreens. Researchers rank the results on several criteria, including how well the products block ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, sunscreen stability, as well as whether ingredients listed are associated with other health hazards.
The report concluded that only about a third of the sunscreens reviewed met their strict standards and made it on their list of the Best Beach & Sport Sunscreens. "The majority of sunscreens available in the U.S. aren't as good as most consumers think they are," said Sonya Lunder, a senior research analyst at the EWG.
The EWG also notes that “high-SPF products tempt people to apply too little sunscreen and stay in the sun too long. The FDA has proposed prohibiting the sale of sunscreens with SPF values greater than 50+, calling higher SPF values ‘inherently misleading,’ but it has not yet issued a regulation.”
Many people also do not apply the recommended amount of sunscreen. An ounce of sunscreen, which is 2 milligrams per square centimeter of skin, is the amount that’s used in SPF testing and will get you the SPF listed on the bottle. But, most people don’t apply that amount to begin with, nor re-apply as often as recommended, which is about every 80 minutes when out in the sun.
Be sure to check out the Best Beach & Sport Sunscreens and see if you’re skin is getting the protection you’re paying for.