We don’t mean to get all motherly on you, but it’s time to talk about sunscreen. Yep, it’s that time of year when the sun comes out and we need to get serious about those dangerous UV rays. Since we know you have better things to worry about than which sunscreen to use, we’re breaking down the top 10 sunscreens based on the Environmental Working Group’s 2013 list that you’ll want to pick up before your next beach workout or surf session.
EWG’s List of Best Sunscreens (with average prices):
Coppertone Kids Pure & Simple Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50 ($10)
CVS Baby Sun Lotion Broad Spectrum Sunscreen, SPF 50 ($8)
Sunbow Dora the Explorer Sunscreen, SPF 30 ($10)
Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Mineral Sunscreen, Fragrance Free, SPF 30 ($12)
Coral Safe Broad Spectrum Face Stick, SPF 30 ($8)
Jason Pure Natural Sun Mineral Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30 ($12)
Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Sensitive, SPF 30+ ($20)
Tropical Sands Sunscreen, SPF 50 ($16)
Absolutely Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30 ($24)
Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen, Green Tea, SPF 30+ ($11)
So what does the EWG say should be avoided when you make your choice?
Sunscreen sprays or powders: Sprays and powders may pose serious inhalation risks — and also make it too easy to apply too little or to miss a spot, leaving tender skin exposed to dangerous rays.
SPF values above 50+: SPF refers only to protection against UVB radiation, not the potentially cancer-causing UVA rays. So a high- SPF number may trick you into staying in the sun too long, blocking sunburns but increasing the risk of other kinds of skin damage. The FDA is considering limiting SPF claims to 50+, as is done in other countries.
Dangerous ingredients: Avoid products that include oxybenzone (found in 80 percent of chemical sunscreens), which can penetrate the skin, cause allergic reactions, possibly disrupt hormones, and may have a link to a risk of endometriosis and low birth weights. And retinyl palmitate, meanwhile, a form of anti-oxidant vitamin A that has been said to slow skin aging, should be avoided because it’s been found to possibly speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight. Safer options block sun with low-risk ingredients such as zinc oxide, avobenzone or Mexoryl SX.
Finally, to make sure you’re truly protected when the sun’s rays are at their strongest, EWG notes, don’t completely rely on sun lotions; instead, when possible, wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts, and pants provide the best protection from UV rays—chemical-free.
Fitness Gear with SPF and Sun Protection:
1. O’Neill 365 Dream Walker Surf Legging – SPF 50
2. O’Neill 365 Amity Zip Pullover – SPF 50
3. LoveSurf Dream Trucker Hat