Just 25% of sunscreens on the market are both effective in protecting your skin from the sun and free of potentially harmful chemicals.
That is according to the 2012 sunscreen guide released by the Environmental Working Group. To make the watchdog's safe list, products should not contain oxybenzone and a form of vitamin a called retinyl palmitate.
But the American Academy of Dermatology says these chemicals have been tested and found to be safe. Experts say sunscreens labeled broad spectrum are the best choices. These products help protect people from both types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA and UVB rays. Each has been shown to cause skin cancer.
Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of at least 15, but generally no higher than 50; reapply every 2 hours and after you come out of the water.
By the end of this year, new regulations by the Food and Drug Administration on how manufacturer's label sunscreen products will go into effect. These items will no longer be able to claim they are waterproof or sweat-proof.
Even though sunscreens offer some protection from the sun, don't forget to wear a hat and other protective clothing, avoid the sun during peak hours, and seek out the shade.