It’s summertime, which means people are trusting sunscreen to protect them from the sun during outdoor activities. But the 9th annual sunscreen guide released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveals that 80 percent of 1,700 sunscreens on the market are not only ineffective, they also contain chemicals that are harmful to human health. Using a scoring system of 1-8 that measures everything from cost to toxicity, with one being the most benign and eight being the most harmful, the EWG rates the best and worst sunscreens available today. The most egregious products were nominated for EWG’s Hall of Shame. Hit the jump to find out why Neutrogena is considered the most shameful of all brands, and which products you can trust.
EWG found that brands claiming a sun protection factor (SPF) of higher than 50 are particularly dubious. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed to regulate such products, as Europe, Japan and Australia have done, but sunscreen manufacturers have blocked regulation since 2007, EWG reports.
The group also found that products containing Retinyl palmitate, a form of Vitamin A, may exacerbate existing skin damage and trigger cancer, while Oxybenzone disrupts the hormone system. Consumers need to be especially aware of the group’s Hall of Shame, which highlights products that promise sun protection but do not deliver. And Neutrogena is the number one brand among the list that stands out.
“Neutrogena’s advertising hype is further from reality than any other major brand we studied,” EWG reports. “It claims to be the “#1 dermatologist recommended suncare brand.” Yet all four products highlighted on Neutrogena’s suncare web page rate 7, in the red – worst – zone in our database.”
“Neutrogena’s “Pure & Free Baby” sunscreen claims “special protection from the sun and irritating chemicals” and “hypoallergenic,” but it contains a preservative called methylisothiazolinone, or MI, that some researchers call a potent allergen and that is deemed unsafe in Europe.”
Banana Boat, Coppertone and CVS are among other brands that scored poorly.
Only 21% of sunscreens, 19% of moisturizers with SPF and 21% of lip balms scored a one or two on EWG’s list, including Burt’s Bees Baby Sunscreen Stick and all six Goddess Garden products. Visit EWG for a list of the best sunscreen products on the market so you can enjoy the summer with peace of mind.