Do you know which sunscreen is safe to use?
by Erum Ilyas, MD
Last week’s study on sunscreen safety has many of my patients asking which sunscreen is ok to use!?!
For those that did not catch last week’s news, another study came out in JAMA last week studying more chemical sunscreens on volunteers and examined how much sunscreen was absorbed into our bloodstream. The study looked at 6 common chemical sunscreen ingredients:
This study confirmed that after just one day of use these chemicals were found in the bloodstream of the volunteers tested in concentrations higher than deemed safe by the FDA. Although we do not yet know of any direct health risk that these chemicals can pose as a result of being in bloodstream, it is concerning. During a recent interview with Everyday Health, I stressed the importance of using safe sunscreens in light of the unknown risks associated with these chemical sunscreens.
In general, the safest sunscreens are the physical sunblocks that contain either zinc or titanium. These block the sun while chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays to diffuse its effects. Last summer, I had my research team go to drugstores, discount department stores and grocery stores near my main office in King of Prussia to determine all available types of sunscreen and their ingredients. The goal of the study was to answer the basic question : “If I recommend sunscreens that have only zinc or titanium in them, how easy is it for my patients to find these at their local stores?”
The answer: It is not easy at all! Out of over 300 varieties of sunscreen products found around King of Prussia alone, only 36 sunscreens using only zinc and/or titanium as their active ingredient with no chemical sunscreens added were available.
To find that only about 10% of sunscreens readily available on the shelves of our local stores had the ingredients I recommend was a real eye opener in just how hard it is for our patients to navigate their sunscreen options.
To make things easier, I have listed below the readily available sunscreens in our local stores that use only zinc or titanium as the active ingredient. This list is not exhaustive but a good start! Always remember that the best way to protect your skin and minimize your exposure to products is through sunsafe clothing as this will cover a much larger surface area and will work throughout the day.
Aveeno baby 50
Babo Botanicals Clear for Babies Fragrance Free Zinc Sunscreen Lotion - SPF 30
Badger Clear Zinc Sunscreen Cream - SPF 35
Banana boat kids sport 50 tear free, sting free
Banana boat simply protect baby 50+ lotion d
Banana boat simply protect kids 50+ lotion
Bare republic mineral 30
Bare republic mineral baby lotion 50 sport
Bare republic mineral citrus cooler 30 spray
Bare republic mineral diamond dust 30
Bare republic mineral sport 50
Bare republic sport stick
Cerave Hydrating sunscreen broad spectrum spf 30 body
Cerave Hydrating sunscreen broad spectrum spf 30 face
Cerave Hydrating sunscreen broad spectrum spf 50
Cerave Hydrating sunscreen broad spectrum spf 50 body
Coppertone pure and simple baby 50
Coppertone water babies 50 pure and simple tear free
CVS Health Broad Spectrum Lotion SPF 70
CVS Health Baby Pure and Gentle Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Stick SPF 60
Goddess Garden Baby Sunscreen Stick SPF 50
La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 mineral
Neutrogena pure and free baby 50
Neutrogena sensitive skin broad spectrum SPF 60+
Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Face Dry touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50
NO AD Naturals 50 Baby
NO AD Naturals 50 Kids
Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Lotion - SPF 50
Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50
Two Peas Organics Mineral Sunscreens - SPF 30
Up & Up Kids' Mineral Formula Sunscreen Lotion - SPF 50
Walgreens brand 50 baby lotion
Wegmans Baby pure & Gentle Broad Spectrum SPF50 sunscreen stick
Wegmans Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Stick