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EWG Sunscreen Guide

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published their annual Sunscreen Guide earlier this week.  The report offers a wide selection of EWG’s picks for top mineral sunscreens with low hazard ratings.

Many of my favorites made the list, like Badger and TRUE Natural Cosmetics.  Yes, some of the sunscreens listed in the Top Sunscreens category contain some not-so-natural ingredients.  And I am really not sure why EWG includes these and not just the truly natural products.  But natural skin care is a still a slippery subject and I am guessing EWG is working to offer up the widest selection of the best choices.  Still, it is confusing.

For instance, Badger Suncreen SPF 15 is listed as having a hazard rating of 2, while Aveeno Baby Face Stick SPF 50 received lower score of 1.  Both scores are on the lower end of EWG’s hazard ranking, but this makes absolutely no sense to me.  The Aveeno product lists paraffin (a petro-chemical) and dimethicone (a petroleum derivative) near the top of their ingredients listing, while Badger’s sunscreen contains nothing but mineral sunscreen, plant oils, beeswax, and essential oils – most of which are certified organic.  The still low, yet higher than it probably should be, ranking is due to Badger’s use of Lanvender oil and Vitamin E and the rankings they receive from EWG (2 for both).  I, personally, would rather use a sunscreen made with organic oils than petrochems and silicones, no matter what EWG rates them.

EWG also put together a list of non-mineral sunscreens, which is a great idea.  These susncreens are chemical, but they are offering ideas for those who will not touch a mineral sunscreen for one reason or another, that offer them the best protection from the sun.  BUT, not all mineral sunscreens are made with nano-particle minerals.  Just sayin’…

And for the worst of the worst, check EWG’s Hall of Shame.

EWG works very hard to bring information on product safety and concern to consumers, and for this I admire them greatly.  But you need to stay on your toes, even with EWG.  The Sunscreen Guide is a great step in the right direction, but I would not base your purchases on their product ratings alone.  As always, read your labels.

If you have any questions on ingredient labels or products from the list, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to get you some answers.

Image:  onlinewoman at, Creative Commons license.

Written by Liz Thompson

I am an organic beauty expert, writer, and mom of two young environmentalists who can already spot a toxic product when they see one. Read more about me at Organic Beauty, and find me on , Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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