The Sunscreen Hall of Shame: 34 Products to Steer Clear Of This Summer (PHOTOS)

Maressa Brown | May 19, 2015 Healthy Living

mom putting sunscreen on daughter at the beachIf you love to spend a whole day at the beach or by the pool basking in the glorious rays of the summer sunshine, but feel like you're protected against skin cancer, because you're slathering or spritzing on sunscreen every so often, this is probably the last thing you want to hear. But it may keep you safe this and every summer.

Turns out, 80 percent (!!!) of 1,700 SPF products reviewed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for their 2015 sunscreen guide offered “inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients like oxybenzone and vitamin A.”

So many products were so disturbingly ineffective and dangerous that the EWG listed them under their "Sunscreen Hall of Shame." Here, the ingredients/claims and most troubling products to steer clear of when you do your SPF shopping this season.

Will you be switching up the sunscreen you use this summer?

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  • What Landed a Sunscreen in the 'Hall of Shame'


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    When considering what products to label the most shameful, the EWG looked at:

    -Spray sunsuncreens, which pose serious inhalation risks, make it too easy to apply too little, and have also been doubted but not banned by the FDA.

    -Sunscreens with SPFs claims over 50+, which give people a false sense of security and tempt them to stay in the sun too long).

    -Sunscreens with oxybenzone, an active ingredient in sunscreens that penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream, and acts like estrogen in the body and has been linked to a slew of health disorders.

    -Sunscreens that contain retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A which, on sun-exposed skin, may speed development of skin tumors and lesions, according to government studies.

  • Banana Boat


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    Banana Boat made it into all three of EWG's "Hall of Shame" categories: sprays, lotions, and sunscreens for kids. Their worst offenders: Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Ultra Defense MAX Skin Protect Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110 (pictured), Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100, and Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Kids Max Protect & Play Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110.

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  • Neutrogena


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    The report points to Neutrogena as the brand most at fault for promising sun protection without delivering. One of its offenses: The brand's baby sunscreens provide “special protection from the sun and irritating chemicals” and is labeled “hypoallergenic,” but it contains a preservative called methylisothiazolinone that has been deemed unsafe for use in leave-on products by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety.

    The brand's products that made EWG's Hall of Shame include: Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunscreen Body Mist, SPF 70, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100+, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70, Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen Spray, SPF 85+, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Daily Liquid Sunscreen, SPF 70 (pictured), and  Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Beach & Pool Sunblock Spray, SPF 70+.

  • Coppertone


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    Coppertone came in first place for the most products to make the "Hall" -- 11 total! -- including Coppertone Sport High Performance AccuSpray Sunscreen, SPF 70, Coppertone Sport High Performance Clear Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100+, Coppertone Sport High Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100 (pictured), Coppertone Sport High Performance Sunscreen, SPF 75, Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55, Coppertone Ultra Guard Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+, and kid/baby sunscreens Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70, Coppertone Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55, Coppertone Kids Wacky Foam Foaming Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70+, Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+, Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55. Oof.

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  • CVS Brand


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    Think you're getting a bargain when you go generic? Not if your sunscreen includes false claims of sky-high SPFs and chemicals galore. Seven CVS products made the list: CVS Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100, CVS Sheer Mist Spray Sunscreen, SPF 70, CVS Sport Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100+, CVS Wet & Dry Sunscreen Spray, SPF 85, CVS Sport Sunstick Sunscreen, SPF 55, CVS Sun Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 100, and CVS Sun Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70 (pictured). No kid ones, though, so ... that's something?

  • NO-AD


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    NO-AD's Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 60 and NO-AD Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 85 both made the worst sunscreen lotions list for their high SPFs and including oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate.

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  • Ocean Potion


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    Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70 sounds like a winner. Key word: sounds. It may be cruelty-free and free of parabens, but thanks to benzones galore and false promises of SPF 70, it's no better than the others on the hall of shame list.

  • Equate


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    The Equate Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55 from Walmart's in-house brand gets a finger-wagging from EWG for benzones, retinyl palmitate, and a SPF above 50.

    More from The Stir: Sunscreen Decoded: The Truth About Your Summer Skin Protection

  • Kroger


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    It's more than a little crazy-making that a sunscreen for babies is filled with harmful ingredients and is advertising false claims. No wonder Kroger Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70 and Kroger Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70 both got slapped with a "terrible" label from EWG.

  • Up & Up


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    EWG warns to steer clear of this kids' sunscreen stick from Up & Up, Target's in-house brand. It gets three strikes for benzones, retinyl palmitate, and SPF over 50.

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