A new study of 750 sunscreens done by EWG (Environmental Working Group), revealed that over 75% of sunscreens on the market are not effective in guarding against skin cancer and have harmful chemicals that may harm skin.
While the best sunscreen for cyclists is to just cover the body completely with clothes, realistically more hours are spent slathering on sunscreen and deepening our tan lines. Here are the misconceptions about sunscreen and new options for your long rides that also meet EWG’s new skin safety criteria:
1. There is no proof that most sunscreens prevent skin cancer
According to EWG, today’s sunscreens do not fully protect skin from all types of UV damage. SPF rating describes the product’s ability to prevent burning. High-energy UVB rays burn skin and directly damage skin DNA, but they make up just 3 to 5 percent of UV radiation striking the earth’s surface.
More numerous UVA rays, by contrast, can be equally damaging without blistering the skin. Both UVA and UVB exposure contribute to melanoma risk (Donawho 1996, Garland 2003, Godar 2009, Setlow 1993).
2. Additive vitamin A in most sunscreens may speed up development of skin cancer
According to the 2016 report, 14% of sunscreens have a form of vitamin A added to them. Most of these sunscreens are the ones used for beach or sports. While vitamin A does indeed combat skin aging, a study just found that it triggers development of skin tumors and lesions when used on skin in the presence of sunlight.
3. European, Australian, and Asian sunscreens are far more effective than US sunscreens
If you can afford to buy internationally-made sunscreens, do it. Sunscreen makers there can make their products with 27 chemicals that filter even the most harmful UV rays. US manufacturers can only use three. The FDA has been stalling on approving the rest for years, and there is no evidence this will change anytime soon.
4. Mineral sunscreens contain nano-particles and those do not cause skin damage
Zinc oxide is stable in the sun and provides better protection from UV rays than any other sunscreen chemical. Nanoparticles help tone down the white and chalky look, and are most often completely safe to use—though those with respiratory conditions might want to use caution due to potential inhalation of nanoparticles. However, when compared to other sunscreen options, they are still by far the better choice.
If you still want to stock up on sunscreen, here are the best options for your long summer rides. Remember to reapply at least every 2 hours and get the back of your neck (the place most cyclists forget):
All Good Sunscreen & Sunscreen Butters: EWG Rating #1
Vichy Sunscreen (France)
Biore Sarasara Uv Aqua Rich Waterly Essence Sunscreen 50g (Japan)
Blue Lizard (Australia)
Buy Here: https://www.bluelizard.net/collections/all?gclid=CKz_wuDdx78CFcvm7Aod9lsAGw
Butterbean Organics SPF 30 Simple Formula Sunscreen
Buy here: http://raw-elementsusa.myshopify.com/
Beyond Coastal Active SPF 30+