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Health: Most Sunscreens Don’t Provide Good Protection

stephanie-web Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –With Memorial Day weekend almost here, a just released report on sunscreen claims most don’t provide good protection against the suns harmful ultraviolet rays, and some may even put your health at risk.

Fun in the sun can turn to misery from a sunburn, and that can potentially turn into skin cancer years later. Sunscreen doesn’t always help.

“Consumers need to realize that not every sunscreen on the market provides adequate sun protection,” said Nneka Leiba, a lead researcher on the 2013 Guide to Sunscreen from The Environmental Working Group.

The guide was released to make consumers aware of the best and worst products. Researchers analyzed the ingredients in sunscreen products and gave them low or high hazard score.

“We looked at more than 750 sunscreens, and we were only able to recommend about 25 percent of them,” said Nneka.

The Environmental Working Group says people should use a sunscreen with an SPF of between 30 to 50 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. They say you should not use spray sunscreen and you should avoid products that contain retinyl palmitate, also known as vitamin A, or oxybenzone.

“The problem is that oxybenzone readily penetrates the skin. It triggers allergic reactions, and it may be associated with hormone disruption, so we’re quite concerned about it. Retinyl palmitate is associated with increased skin tumors and lesions on sun exposed skin,” said Nneka.

Experts warn that sunscreen with an SPF above 50 offers little additional protection and may lead to consumers not re-applying because they think it will protect them for longer periods of time.

For more on the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide, visit: www.ewg.org/2013sunscreen

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