Sunscreen Buyer’s Guide

We all know using sunscreen reduces the risk of skin cancer and prevents premature aging. The less obvious part is how to buy it.

We aren’t alone in recommending SPF 30 or higher and broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. You should also purchase sunscreen that is water resistant--just remember to re-apply about every hour.

Okay, so SPF 30+, Broad Spectrum, and Water Resistant. That’s the easy stuff. Ready to become a cynical sunscreen buyer? This year, the Environmental Working Group found about 80% of sunscreen products offer inferior protection or contain hazardous ingredients. With the multitude of low quality products, buying sunscreen goes beyond SPF.

Chemicals to Avoid

Parabens: synthetic preservatives. 

You probably recognize the word, as they are the most common ingredients in skin products after water. Studies have shown that parabens can have similar effects as estrogen which can lead to diminished muscle mass, increased fat storage, and breast cancer.

Retinyl Palmitate- a form of Vitamin A used to prevent aging.

Don’t freak out if you find this ingredient in your other skin creams; it isn’t inherently hazardous. But recent studies show it is linked to skin damage when combined with sunlight. This damage can manifest by spurring skin growth, eventually causing skin lesions and tumors.

Don’t be fooled by overly high SPF

Any skin care company that claims they can protect your skin twice as much as SPF 50 is lying to you.

Ultra-high SPF claims are misleading. The truth is there is only a marginal difference between SPF 50 and SPF 100, but people often assume they can stay out in the sun twice as long if they buy a sunscreen with double the SPF. Aside from the misuse of high SPF products that leads to worse burns more often, there is also danger in the types of sun filters these products use. High SPFs require higher concentrations of sun-filtering chemicals. Some of these chemicals, like oxybenzone, are presumed to cause tissue damage and hormone disruption when they penetrate the skin.

While overly high SPF sunscreens may offer nominally better protection, it isn’t worth the risks to use them.

Still Confused?

If you’re not a scientist, it’s easy to skim blogs like this one and still feel unsure of whether a certain product is safe. Besides, in today’s world, who has time to read through every sunscreen label in the store isle? We sure don’t.

Make it easy on yourself and go with a sunscreen from our favorite new product line, Supergoop! Every Supergoop! product is 100% paraben free and uses the highest quality ingredients. It offers super broad-spectrum protection and additional antioxidant defense against damage and aging.