A Whopping 80% of Sunscreens Don’t Work, According to a Terrifying New Report

tuula vintage blogger on a yachtPhoto: Tuula Vintage

Before you head away for sunshine-filled Memorial Day weekend, you might want to rethink that sunscreen and SPF lip balm you’ve packed. According to a terrifying new study of 1,700 SPF products, a whopping 80 percent of them don’t actually protect you from the sun safely.

Researchers associated with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) considered a host of factors that are needed to make a successful SPF product, including UVA protection, UVB protection, and UVA/UVB balance, plus the active ingredients used.

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The findings have been used to create a Hall of Shame for sunscreen lotions, sprays, and kids products that don’t make the cut. On that list are products from a bunch of popular brands we bet you’ve used before, including Banana Boat, CVS brand, Neutrogena, Coppertone, NO-AD, and Ocean Potion.

Some sunscreens made the Hall of Shame for boasting an impressive SPF of 50+–a rating which apparently means next to nothing. Apparently SPF is actually an out-dated term that only refers to protection from UVB rays that burn the skin, and not the UVA rays that can penetrate deep into the body to accelerate aging and even cause skin cancer.

Others were included for containing harmful ingredients, and 11 spray sunscreens were outed for being difficult to apply meticulously and dangerous to inhale. Yikes, scary stuff, isn’t it?

But it’s not all bad: The EWG also has a list of safe sunscreen products that you should considering using instead.