Your Sunscreen Probably Isn't Protecting You As Well As You Thought It Was


There's light at the end of the tunnel though!

1. The Truth About Sunscreen Ain't All Sunshine And Rainbows

The Short of It:

Over the course of four years, Consumer Reports probed the power of 65 different kinds of sunscreen and found that our best efforts to protect our skin could be all for naught.

The Longer Version of It:

Unless you're trying to age and damage your skin, it's likely that you lather on a coat of sunscreen before heading out into the sun to shield yourself from the bummers of the world that are premature aging, sunburn and skin cancer. Most dermatologists encourage the use of sunscreens that provide an SPF, or sun protection factor, of 30 plus to avoid these perils.

Recently though, Consumer Reports researchers dropped some news on the world, and in perfect timing too since the summer's sunbeams are just peeking out around the corner. The study revealed that a lot of the products we use to protect our skin from the sun aren't as effective as we think. Researchers tested over 60 brands of sunscreens that claimed to hold SPF of 30 or higher. The takeaway was that 28, out of the 60 sun protection products tested, had SPF's below what was promised. Some even had an SPF rating of less than 15.

What's more, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) just published their annual sunscreen guide in which 750 different kinds of sunscreen formulas were tested. It revealed that 3 out of 4 sun protection products give insufficient sun protection or have ingredients that could be potentially toxic. Oy. Vey.

Don't panic just yet, there's light at the end of this tunnel and you'll be happy about it. EWG isn't telling people to back away from the sunscreen. They are telling consumers to start getting more involved in the decisions they make while walking down the sunscreen aisle. EWG's sunscreen database and phone app can steer you in the right direction on which products to avoid and which ones to be less wary about. Do that while keeping in mind Consumer Reports thorough study and you should be okay for now.

The Takeway:

Looks like it's time for the Food and Drug Administration, which doesn't regularly test sunscreens, to step it up in the sunscreen game. Implementing stricter instructions and regulations for sunscreen would certainly make it easier and safer for people to slather on any sunscreen someday and rest assure that their sunscreen game is on point. For now, arm yourself by avoiding regular sunscreen mistakes and being as diligent about your sunscreen research as you are about your online shopping spends.