Don't Toss That Sunscreen


Sun protection is crucial to the health of skin, and this is a fact well known by the esthetician. Sun care recommendations are a part of the esthetician's daily interaction with the client, and based on the Environmental Working Group's 2015 Guide to Sunscreens, many of those sun care products contain harmful chemicals.

You may have read the report and panicked that you were recommending inadequate or harmful sun protection, but before you go back to the drawing board, read the below.

In response to the 2015 Guide to Sunscreens, Farah K. Ahmed, chair of the Sunscreen Task Force for the  Personal Care Products Council, explained “While the 2015 Guide to Sunscreens helps raise awareness of the dangers of sun exposure and the importance of using sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, it also contains false information, inaccuracies, and methodology flaws that ultimately render it misleading and potentially harmful to public health."

Ahmed pointed out that the 2015 guide is nearly identical to the 2013 and 2014 versions. In addition, she noted that it was not peer reviewed nor verified by sunscreen experts. Warwick Morison, professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins and chairman of the Skin Cancer Foundation agrees, calling the study "junk science."

One of the main sunscreen chemicals highlighted by the EWG's study is oxybenzone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), although oxybenzone has been found in some urine samples, it has not been shown to have adverse health affects and is an important tool to protect skin against sunburn and skin cancer.

Ahmed fears that the report may lead more people to reduce if not elliminate the use of sunscreen, the cost of which could be deadly. “People are already not adequately protecting themselves from the sun. In fact, a recent CDC survey published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that approximately 43% of men and 27% of women never use sunscreen on their faces or other exposed skin." Skin Inc. recently published an article on refuting client excuses for better sun safety.

Ahmed concluded, “As sunscreen manufactures, our goal is to provide Americans with access to a wide variety of safe, effective and innovative sunscreens to use as an important part of an overall sun safe regimen.”

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