Each year over one million people in North America are diagnosed with skin cancer!

Although being in the sun can be great for vitamin D production, too much sun can be problematic over time. Soaking up the sun exposes the skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, some of which is naturally reflected by the skin, but the rest is absorbed by living cells. The absorbed UV damages cells causing sunburn, premature aging and skin cancer.

Most people slather on sunscreen or sunblock with good intentions to help protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. The problem is, not all sun protection products are created equally. There are a lot more things to consider besides sun protection factor (SPF) when choosing a sunscreen.

Does it protect from both UVA & UVB radiation?
Is it actually chemically stable in sunlight?
Do the ingredients have any known or suspected health hazards?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) in Washington, DC, recognized the need for scientific analysis of sun protection products. They analysed 1,085 products on the market with information compiled from studies, toxicity information and product formulations to rank them for safety and effectiveness.

Only 15% of 1,085 products analyzed met criteria for safety and effectiveness!

Some of the worst offenders are Coppertone, Banana Boat and Neutrogena.

What they found:

Products lacked UVA protection
7% of products did not contain ingredients that would help shield the body from UVA. Long term exposure to this type of long wave radiation is linked with skin cancer.

They couldn’t stand up to the sun
44% of products contained ingredients that may be unstable in the sun, making it questionable as to whether they will actually last as long as they claim to.

Ingredients may be linked with skin cancer
Most commercial sunscreens contain oxybenzone. It absorbs UVA & UVB rays,but the problem is that now it is actually thought to cause some forms of skin cancer!

As a Naturopathic Doctor, my top sunscreen pick is:
Elta UV Physical

To find out how your sunscreen ranks, check out the EWG’s list of best sunscreens on their Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Or, for more information on how to protect you and your family from the sun’s rays, please contact our Oakville clinic to book an appointment with one of our Naturopathic Doctors.