Just-released 2012 Sunscreen Guide published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) sheds much-needed light on sun protection issues once again. Each year they focus on a particular aspect of the sun protection story that does not get much play in the mainstream press. This year they talk about the FDA regulations that didn’t happen and what that means for the consumer, expose manufacturers who market sunscreens for children that turn out to be exactly the same as the adult versions, down to the same concentrations of ingredients, celebrate the increased use of safer ingredients, especially mineral versus chemical UV filters for children, and mention in several contexts the UVA protection gap.
Making sense of sun protection is a Herculean task. To fulfill their mandate of providing consumers with the information they need to make safe choices they must dig deep into the data provided by thousands of manufacturers (this year's guide rates over 1,800 sunscreens (for both adults and kids), lip balms, and moisturizers and cosmetics with SPF) while staying abreast of new research and findings that may change the whole safety picture. Their caveats this year include retinyl palmitate in sunscreens and too-high SPF ratings, which may lull sun bathers into a false sense of security.
The EWG is extremely aware of the burden of responsibility it bears, especially in light of the FDA’s continued foot-dragging on labeling issues. It has become our de facto public watchdog on so many fronts, and without them we the consumers would be much less knowledgeable, and as a consequence much less able, to make good decisions on purchases that potentially have enormous impact on our health and the health of our children. Given the limited resources and labor at their disposal, we at MVO consider the EWG sunscreen guide an excellent effort, and a good place for consumers to begin their search. But you don’t need to stop there--UV protection is such a hugely complicated subject there is always more territory to explore.
Everyday Sheer Coverage - Best Makeups with SPF;
Kid Safe Screen - Best Beach and Sport Sunscreens
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