The best and worst sunscreens

An investigation by the Environmental Working Group of nearly 1,000 name-brand sunscreens found that only 1 of 5 adequately protected against both UVA and UVB rays or had just a few—as opposed to many—chemicals linked to health hazards, such as hormone disruption and cancer. For instance, the nonprofit group considered fewer than 5 percent of sunscreens by Coppertone, Neutrogena and Banana Boat as safe and effective. Their findings are reported at Many of the sunscreens considered safe still contain chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive development problems and allergies, though in safer amounts.

The top-10 sunscreens EWG recommends are:

1) Blue Lizard, any without oxybenzone

2) California Baby with SPF 30 or above

3) CVS with zinc oxide

4) Jason Natural Cosmetics Sunbrellas Mineral Based Sunblock

5) Kiss My Face “Paraben Free” Series

6) Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock

7) Olay Defense Daily UC Moisturizer with zinc

8) SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense

9) Solar Sense Clear Zinc for Face

10)Walgreens Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose & Ears

EWG also encourages consumers to buy sunscreens that are SPF 30 or above and contain 7 percent zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for broad spectrum protection. It says to avoid those with oxybenzone or benzophnone-3, which are linked to skin absorption, allergies and hormone problems. The Food and Drug Administration proposed the first ever UVA standards for sunscreen in August 2007, but the rules aren’t final yet.