The effectiveness of some of the sunscreen has been questioned by researchers.
The new study found that about 500 of the current year’s sunscreens and products containing sunscreen don’t work.
Researchers at the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental research organization based in Washington, D.C claim certain sunscreens containing chemicals, like Padimate-O and Parsol 1789 (Avobenzone), that may prove to be toxic and actually increase the damaging effects of the sun.
More than 700 sunscreen products sold in the USA were analyzed for the study.
Dr. Laurie Hommema, a family doctor at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, said: “There’s really no difference between SPF 45 and SPF 100, and people get a false sense of security from those big numbers. They don’t apply enough sunscreen or wait too long before reapplying.”
When the sun’s rays combines with certain chemicals on your skin, the light is converted from one kind of energy to another, says Alan M. Dattner, M.D., an integrative physician and dermatologist in Manhattan.
If not “calmed down properly,” says Dattner, it can result into more damage than what the sun could cause on its own. And these chemicals can accumulate in your body over time.
EWG recommends using a product containing either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide — minerals known to be safe for usage from long as they have the property to scatter or reflect the sun’s rays, not absorb.
They act as a safeguard against both UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays are rays with longer wavelengths, having more penetration capability in the skin and can even pass through window glass. UVB rays are stronger in the summer and are the key reason behind sunburn.
Sunscreens containing nano-sized particles of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, can get absorbed directly into the skin and can readily enter the bloodstream and other body tissues, and have not been proven safe. Paul Pestano, an Environmental Working Group research analyst, said: “A lot of sunscreens use nano-particles that are safe on skin, but they could be dangerous to inhale.”
The researchers recommends SPF 30 as a good number and to purchase at least a SPF product and also reapply that sunscreen at least every two hours. The sunscreen should be applied at least half an hour before stepping into the sun.
SPF stands for Sun Protecting Factor. It is used for measuring UVB Radition.