Now in its 10th year, the Environmental Working Group Guide to Sunscreens helps us see the light when it comes to choosing a safe and effective sun care product. Which sunscreens should you recommend to customers this season—and which should go into hibernation for good?
While almost three-fourths of the products analyzed were found to offer inferior sun protection or potentially harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone, it wasn't all bad news in this year's report. Mineral sunscreens were on the rise, and top-rated products lived up to their claims by using nontoxic and effective ingredients. In addition to simple mineral formulations containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, nontoxic brands focused on bringing convenience and usability to the space with easy-to-apply sunscreen sticks. Other rising trends: Non-GMO products and sun-protective clothing.
Need some help choosing shining products for your store? These nine picks were among those that offer broad-spectrum coverage and nontoxic ingredients, receiving a 1 (safest) rating from the EWG.
View the EWG's full list of the best and worst sunscreens here.
When stocking products beyond these recommendations, consider the following tips:
- Choose products using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They are stable in sunlight, offer a good balance between protection from the two types of ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) and don't often contain potentially harmful additives.
- Understand SPFs. SPF values of more than 50 can be misleading and inaccurate, plus don’t tend to offer superior protection. Plus, the SPF number only indicates UVB protection, not UVA. Look for companies that have taken extra steps to test for UVA protection, beyond the loose FDA standards.
- Don't rely solely on sunscreen. At the end of the day, a sunscreen can only do so much. Limit time in the sun—and check out UV-protective clothing, which could be your safest best.