As revelers plan Memorial Day festivities, EWG has released its 2013 Sunscreen Guide with new information as to why choosing a high SPF sunscreen is not recommended.
It has long been known by industry insiders that choosing a high SPF sunscreen does not necessarily protect the skin better, a fact the Environmental Working Group has been promoting as well as the FDA. However, producers of high SPF sunscreens have defended its manufacture due to lucrative sales. The watchdog group, EWG, believes manufacturers should stop selling these products all together.
In its document titled “What’s Wrong With High SPF?” the EWG has outlined why consumers should not use high SPF sunscreens. In theory, applying a sun protection factor of 100 allows sunbathers to remain in the sun’s rays for 100 times longer before the skin burns, therefore, a person who generally gets red with sun exposure can stay outdoors for a total of 50 hours. However, customer misuse and trusting too deeply in a high SPF number have proven people expose themselves to greater sun damage. The Environmental Working Group has outlined four factors against using a high SPF sunscreen with values greater than 50.
- When used correctly, sunscreen with SPF values in the range of 30 to 50 will offer strong sunburn protection, even for people most sensitive to sunburn.
- High SPF sunscreens have a poorer balance between UVA and UVB rays. A sunscreen’s SPF rating has little to do with the product’s ability to shield the skin from UVA rays and as a result of the FDA’s restrictions on ingredients and concentrations, they provide less protection against UVA than UVB, particularly those sunscreens with the highest SPF. Because UVA and UVB protection do not balance out within the sunscreen, high SPF products protect from sunburn but not other types of sun damage.
- Consumers misuse high SPF sunscreens, not applying the recommended amount and staying in the sun longer due to a false sense of security.
- High SPF sunscreens pose greater health risks because they use higher concentrations of sun filtering chemicals that can cause allergic reactions among other things.
The Environmental Working Group believes high SPF sunscreens are highly misleading. To view the full report click this link and to see recommended sunscreens, click here.
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