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Harmful Chemicals in Sunscreen

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What are the three most harmful chemicals that may be lurking in your “natural” sunscreen? Since you’ll want to choose the safest and most effective products for your fun in the sun, here’s an easy way to sort through the hundreds of sunscreens available. Though some exposure to the sun is beneficial, if you’re out in the sun all day you should wear a hat, protective clothing and sunscreen. Unfortunately, harmful chemicals can be lurking in commercial sunscreens. How can you choose the safest and most effective sun block for your fun in the sun? To help you sort through the hundreds of products available, Environmental Working Group just came out with their 2013 Sunscreen Guide. Find it by Googling “EWG 2013 sunscreen report.”

Here are a few things to consider:

Contrary to what your dermatologist might tell you, your skin will absorb any chemicals you put on it, right into your bloodstream. Many sunscreens contain one or more of these harmful chemicals: Oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, and methoxycinnamate. Stay away from products with these additives.

Mineral-based sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium reflect sunlight and are considered the best.

Find a product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

There’s no need to buy a product with an SPF higher than 30. They don’t work any better. They’re likely to give you a false sense of confidence and lead you to stay in the sun longer than you should.


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