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Posted on: June 22, 2018 at 1:59 pm
Last updated: July 3, 2018 at 1:21 pm

The safety and effectiveness of sunscreens is a topic that has garnered a lot of attention in recent years. The EWG just released their 2018 sunscreen guide and it includes their list of the worst sunscreens you shouldn’t be applying on your kids (or yourself for that matter). Here’s everything you need to know about the 10 worst sunscreens of 2018.

10 Worst Rated Sunscreens

1. Panama Jack Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 85

This sunscreen is a bad choice for sun protection and the SPF levels in this product turned out to be significantly less than advertised (1). The EWG doesn’t recommend using sunscreens with SPF values greater than 50 (2). Many people trust high-SPF sunscreens too much, which leads to improper use and an increased exposure to harmful UV radiation (2). The EWG findings concluded that this product provides only moderate UVA protection and has a poor balance of UVA protection in relation to SPF (1).

The EWG report also found that the ingredients in this sunscreen pose a high health risk (1). This product contains oxybenzone, a chemical that disrupts hormones, and methylisothiazolinine, which is a known skin allergen and banned ingredient for leave-on products in Europe (1).

2. Up & Up Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

Although this product meets SPF 50 cut-off criteria, it still had a poor overall score and was found to have SPF levels much lower than the advertised value (3). Up & Up provides only moderate UVA protection and a moderate balance of UVA protection in relation to SPF (3). The ingredients in this sunscreen pose a moderate health concern with 9 of its ingredients being classified as moderately hazardous (3).

3. Banana Boat Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100

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This product scored very poorly in both the UV protection and ingredients categories (4). The EWG found that this product also has an SPF value that was much less than advertised and has a poor balance of UVA protection in relation to SPF (4). Seeing as this product is way over the SPF 50 cut-off and provides only moderate UVA protection, it offers a false sense of security to users (4). This spray sunscreen also poses an inhalation risk and may not completely cover the skin when applied (4).

The ingredients in this Banana Boat sunscreen pose a high health concern (4). It contains the hormone disruptor oxybenzone as well as isobutane, which can cause allergies and irritations to the skin, eyes and/or lungs (4).

4. Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100

Like the other Banana Boat sunscreen product listed, this product has an SPF value that is too high for EWG standards, the levels of which are significantly less than advertised (5). This sunscreen was found to provide moderate UVA protection and a poor balance of UVA protection in relation to SPF (5). The ingredients in this sunscreen pose a high health risk as oxybenzone and isobutane are present (5).

5. Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 60+

This sunscreen has SPF levels lower than advertised and was found to have only moderate levels UVA protection (6). The balance of UVA protection in relation to SPF levels was also deemed to be moderate (6).

The ingredients in this Neutrogena product pose a moderate health risk with a total of nine ingredients being classified as moderately hazardous (6). Two ingredients in this sunscreen were found to be highly hazardous – methylisothiazolinone and retinyl palmitate (6). Retinyl palmitate poses risks including cellular level changes, cancer, and organ system toxicity (6).

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6. Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70 +

This Neutrogena product also has moderate UVA protection and a moderate balance of UVA protection in relation to SPF (7). As a spray, it may not properly cover the skin and there is an inhalation risk (7).

This sunscreen poses a high health concern and contains toxic ingredients including oxybenzone and fragrance that has the potential to cause irritation and allergies (7).

7. Equate Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70

This product provides moderate UVA protection and a moderate balance of UVA protection in relation to SPF (8). Because its SPF levels exceed 50, it doesn’t meet the EWG SPF cut-off guidelines (8)

The ingredients in this sunscreen are particularly concerning and pose a high health concern (8). It contains highly hazardous ingredients including oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate (8).

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8. Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Continuous AccuSpray, SPF 70

Like other spray sunscreens, this Coppertone product poses an inhalation risk and may not adequately cover the skin (9). The levels of SPF are too high according to EWG standards and this product was found to only provide moderate UVA protection (9). The balance of UVA protection in relation to SPF was also found to be moderate (9).

The ingredients in this Coppertone sunscreen pose a high risk with highly hazardous ingredients like oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate present (9).

9. Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55

This Coppertone product posed a moderate concern in terms of both UVA protection and ingredients (10). It’s slightly above the recommended SPF 50 levels and was found to provide moderate UVA protection as well as a moderate balance of UVA protection in relation to SPF (10).

This sunscreens ingredients are a moderate health concern with five meeting the moderately hazardous criteria (10). It also contains the highly hazardous ingredients like oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate (10).

10. Coppertone Water Babies Foaming Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70

Like the previously listed Coppertone product, this sunscreen is above the cut-off SPF levels and provides moderate UVA protection (11). The EWG found that this product provides a moderate balance of UVA to SPF (11).

This Coppertone sunscreen poses a high health concern and contains a total of 4 highly hazardous ingredients including oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, fragrance, and isobutane (11).

So there you have it, the 10 sunscreens you and your kids should stay far away from this summer. Hopefully this cleared up some of the confusion around acceptable SPF levels and potentially toxic ingredients. Read this next to learn how to make non-toxic sunscreen at home. 

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(1) Panama Jack Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 85. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/785373/Panama_Jack_Sport_Sunscreen_Lotion%2C_SPF_85/#.WwWAb9PwaL9

(2) What’s Wrong With High SPF? (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/whats-wrong-with-high-spf/

(3) Up & Up Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/785529/Up_%26_Up_Sport_Sunscreen_Lotion%2C_SPF_50/#.WwWAdNPwaL9

(4) Banana Boat Kids Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/785138/Banana_Boat_Kids_Continuous_Spray_Sunscreen%2C_SPF_100/#.WwV-kNPwaL9

(5) Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/785910/Banana_Boat_Kids_Sunscreen_Lotion%2C_SPF_100/#.WwV_PdPwaL-

(6) Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen, SPF 60+. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/785408/Neutrogena_Pure_%26_Free_Baby_Sunscreen%2C_SPF_60%2B/#.WwV9f9PwaL9

(7) Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/785673/Neutrogena_Wet_Skin_Kids_Sunscreen_Spray%2C_SPF_70%2B

(8) Equate Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/785868/Equate_Baby_Sunscreen_Lotion%2C_SPF_70/

(9) Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Continuous AccuSpray, SPF 70. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/785514/Coppertone_Kids_Sunscreen_Continuous_AccuSpray%2C_SPF_70_/

(10) Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/785215/Coppertone_Water_Babies_Sunscreen_Stick%2C_SPF_55/

(11) Coppertone Water Babies Foaming Lotion. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/about-the-sunscreens/785213/Coppertone_Water_Babies_Foaming_Lotion_Sunscreen%2C_SPF_70/

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