Researchers Issue New Warnings
About 500 sunscreen products on the market this year that contain sunscreen have been found to either not work as well as advertised, or may contain ingredients that could be toxic according to a recent article in The Columbus Dispatch newspaper.
Researchers at the Environmental Working Group said many of the sunscreen products available today aren’t protecting your skin and may actually be harming your health. Researchers for the group – a consumer-action organization based in Washington, D.C. – analyzed over 700 sunscreen products sold in the United States, and they approved less than one-third of them as both safe and effective.
Among the issues, products with a really high SPF, sprays, some SPF moisturizers and makeup products, and items with chemicals such as vitamin A and oxybenzone as ingredients.
According to researchers, sunscreens containing Vitamin A, also known as retinol and retinyl palmitate, has been shown to quicken the development of tumors and lesions on sun-exposed skin. It’s in about 20 percent of the sunscreens and 12 percent of SPF moisturizers in Environmental Working Group’s database.
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Researchers estimated that around 15 percent of beach and sports sunscreens are labeled with SPF (Sun Protection Factor), with values greater than 50, and this is no measure of sunscreen effectiveness, according to Paul Pestano, an Environmental Working Group research analyst.
“There’s really no difference between SPF 45 and SPF 100, and people get a false sense of security from those big numbers,” said Dr. Laurie Hommema, a family doctor at Ohio Health Riverside Methodist Hospital. “Because of the high number, they don’t apply enough sunscreen or wait too long before reapplying.”
According to Dr. Hommema, SPF 30 is a good number to look for when you are shopping for sunscreen. It is recommended to reapply the sunscreen at least every two hours.
In addition, researchers also questioned whether sunscreen sprays provide enough protection and that the chemical-inhalation may pose risks. According to Pestano, several sunscreens use nanoparticles that are safe on skin, but could be dangerous to inhale. About one-third of sunscreens are sprays.
Nanoparticles found in American sunscreens are either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which are important to have in sunscreen, but they should not be inhaled cautioned Pestano.
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