A Guide to Choosing the Safest Sunscreen for Your Family Health, medicine and fitness
Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide protect both UVA and UVB rays, although titanium dioxide is only moderately effective against UVA rays, EWG said.
Another caveat: Some sunscreen manufacturers add anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce redness of the skin, the tell-tale sign of sunburn which is a clear sign of skin damage. Look for botanical extracts like licorice, chamomile and aloe, says EWG, which won’t protect against harmful rays.
Beware of solar sprays
Another area of concern for the FDA is the possible danger posed by the application of sunscreen in spray and powder form. Sprays are potentially combustible, and sprays and powders can enter the lungs if the particles are small enough.
Anything with a diameter of 10 microns or less poses the biggest health concerns because it can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause irreversible damage.
“We know that titanium dioxide when inhaled, whether it is a powder or a spray, can have carcinogenic effects, which means it has been linked to cancer,” said Leiba said.
The FDA has proposed that all spray and powder sunscreens be tested, but nothing has started yet. Due to the lack of definitive testing, EWG recommends avoiding all sprays.
Sadly, the EWG 2021 report found that the number of solar sprays in the US market has grown over the years as consumers seem to appreciate the convenience of a quick stream of spray.