The Bottom Line
There are sunscreens that are safe and that work. The EWG’s Skin Deep report (ewg.org) and Green Guide (thegreenguide.com) both provide comprehensive information about sunscreen ingredients, hazards, and effectiveness. California Baby Sunblock SPF 30 tops both Green Guide and the EWG lists. Their other favorites include Lavera Sun Spray SPF 25, Aubrey Organics Natural Sun SPF 25 Green Tea, Boscia Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF 15, and Cellex-C Water Resistant Sunscreen SPF 30.
Covering up can help, and there are now fabrics treated with safe ingredients that add sun protection and cannot be absorbed by the skin, such as Coolibar Sun Block and SunGuard Clothing. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends wearing a tight weave and a dark color for the most protection. Unbleached cotton is also a powerful UV absorber.
Experts say the best protection is to stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. When outside, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 15, and apply it 30 minutes before going outside.
If you want a risk-free tanned look, try a self-tanner. Most contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), an FDA-approved ingredient that a study by the journal Mutation Research suggests may delay skin-cancer development.