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Cabo Sun Block Advisory: What to Look For
We all know the importance of applying daily sunscreen especially when you laying poolside at one of our Cabo hotels or Mazatlan resorts. Most doctors suggest a daily amount using nothing less than 30 SPF is important with more than a million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. But what toxins should we really look out for in sunscreen? Well, thanks to Environmental Working Group, the answer is much simpler than one would expect. Annually the EWG releases a study on safe sunscreens. Here are some important points of the study to help you:
- Look for UVA protection- According to the study, only 14% of the 1,232 products analyzed met EWG's criteria for safety and effectiveness. Only about 8% of high SPF sunscreens (SPF of at least 30) truly protect only from sunburn (UVB radiation) or the sun rays linked to skin damage and aging, immune system problems, and potentially skin cancer. Currently the FDA does not require that sunscreens guard against UVA radiation.
- Make sure the sunscreen has at least 7% zinc oxide to replace oxybenzone- Zinc oxide is a physical sun blocker meaning that the product reflects and blocks UV rays but it's not absorbed into the system like other active ingredients, it remains on the surface.
- Avoid spray or powder suntan lotions with nano-scale zinc oxide- You can actually inhale these small particles and they can potentially damage your lungs. The EWG is unclear as to the extent of damage nano-scale oxide causes but much of Europe is currently phasing out its use according to EWG.
- Avoid oxybenzone- Oxybenzone is a widely used ingredient that rates poorly due to high absorption through skin, high rates of allergic reactions, and growing concerns about hormone disruption. What some experts suspect happens is that the body interprets the presence of the chemical as some sort of hormone according to the EWG. Numerous other studies have linked oxybenzone to health concerns including endocrine disruption, cell damage, and, ironically, cancer.
- Avoid fragrance- As with other cosmetic products it's best to avoid fragrance unless the fragrance is plant based. A loophole in federal law doesn't require companies to declare any of the dozens of toxic chemicals that a single product's fragrance mixture could contain. Be mindful of the hidden dangers that "fragrance" or "perfume" listed on ingredients labels can pose, and always choose fragrance-free products.
Keep these standards in mind and they should should help you make smart decisions when looking for a good brand of sunblock on your vacation. Visit EWG.org for more consumer tips and product rankings for sunscreen.