How Safe is Your Sunscreen?

- Private group -
May 20, 2014

It is the time of year where beautiful weather and warm sunshine beckon us outside and we are reminded once again, to wear our sunscreen, but do you know how safe and effective your sunscreen is?  Although, we have been told that sunscreen is the skin's best defense against the sun, it is important to educate ourselves about these potentially harmful products.

Recently, the FDA introduced several new regulations for the labels of sunscreen bottles to give consumers a clearer sense of how well the product protects the skin.  For example, bottles are no longer allowed to have a SPF above 50+ because research suggests that there is minimal benefit over 30.  If a product is advertised as “Broad Spectrum” it must have research-backed proof that it protects against UVA and UVB rays.  Bottles can no longer say that they are “waterproof” or “sweat-proof,” no sunscreen is water resistant and formulas must say how soon they will wash away.  Also, bottles must contain an ingredient list, potential dangers and a warning label about sun protection.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a report of their top sunscreens.  To get the EWG’s seal of approval sunscreens must offer solid sun protection not exceeding SPF values above “50+” as those with a higher SPF can give a false sense of security and offer poor UVA protection relative to the high SPF.  They were also required to contain the fewest possible ingredients with toxicity concerns.  Retinyl Palmitate, Oxybenzone and Vitamin A are three highly toxic chemicals often contained in sunscreens.  Retinyl Palmitate becomes more toxic and harmful when exposed to the light, Oxybenzone is a hormone distributor and Vitamin A may speed the development of cancer.

Although these troubling facts may leave you wanting to skip the sunscreen altogether, that is not the right answer.  The Swier Clinic wants you to enjoy the warm summer season outdoors, but encourages the practice of safe sun habits.

EWG suggests to wear protective clothing, make use of shady areas, avoid the noontime sun and educate yourself before choosing a sunscreen.  A list of the EWG’s top sunscreens can be viewed here.

If you currently have skin damage as a result of overexposure to the sun or if you have a skin lesion of concern, please call us for an appointment today, 302-645-7737.  The Swier Clinic specializes in reversing the signs of aging and the treatment of skin cancer.


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Dr. Swier is a highly trained, board certified plastic surgeon with years of experience.  He specializes in plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery and peripheral nerve surgery.  Call our office today to set up an appointment for a consultation.  The Swier Clinic has two locations for your convenience:


The Swier Clinic, Lewes

1400 Savannah Road

Lewes, Delaware 19958



The Swier Clinic, Newark

2600 Glasgow Avenue | Suite 102

Newark, Delaware 19702-4777