Friday, July 4, 2008

Safe sunning

Gone are the days of slathering on the orange gelee or baby oil and baking in the sun for hours. Sunblock is everywhere now that the ozone layer is not. Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic Safety Database, Skin Deep, has once again announced their top ten picks for best/safest/most effective sunscreens. They also feature a list of more common brands that are zinc oxide, paraben, or oxybenzone free. These are ingredients often found in sunscreens. According to the EWG and the NIH, oxybenzone, also known as 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone and benzophenone-3, is used as a UV blocker but may cause an allergic reaction in the skin when (or even when not) exposed to sunlight. Zinc oxide also has been found to be an allergic agent in some, but can pose greater health concerns when inhaled, so best not to use an aerosolized sunscreen product with this ingredient. Paraben is a preservative that is found in a multitude of items such as food and cosmetics and may be an endocrine disrupter.

As if all of this isn't bad enough, sunscreens have been found to cause coral bleaching in reefs where people tend to vacay.

So, grab your sunglasses and a big floppy hat, don a caftan made of UV fabric, and sit under that giant golf umbrella when you hit the beaches this holiday weekend!

More, cool info:
NIH Household Products Database
European Food Safety Authority
Environmental Health Perspectives

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