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Why is getting harder to pick the right sunscreen?

Concerns about chemicals make it tough to choose the proper sun protection.

HOUSTON — Why is it getting harder to pick the right sunscreen?

By now we all know sunscreen is essential to cutting you risk of skin cancer, reducing wrinkles and slowing the effects of aging.

Now a report from the Environmental Working Group, a non-partisan advocacy organization, says about 75 percent of sunscreens on the market have inferior sun protection or troubling ingredients.

That’s after studies found some sunscreens may damage oceans and coral reefs, leading locations like Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands to ban sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Those chemicals may harm the environment, but there is growing concern they harm humans as well.

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Oxybenzone is not really used in sunscreens in Europe after research linked it to hormone issues, lower testosterone levels and shorter pregnancies. 

More research needs to be done and the FDA has asked manufacturers for more testing, but so far it has allowed products containing the chemical to stay on the market.

So what is safe to use?

It turns out your best bet is zinc oxide. You know, the stuff that gives you a white nose.

That’s because it is a physical barrier to the sun instead of being absorbed into your skin like chemical sunscreens.

And if you are worried about white streaks, manufacturers have new formulas that minimize the chalkiness and even have tints to match your skin tone.

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