Would You Buy A Sunscreen That Warned You To Avoid The Sun For A WEEK?

Shade Spencer Beach Big Island Hawaii WM PinterestBy now more and more of us are aware that we have to wait up to half an hour for our sunscreens to start working, but what if you had to WAIT A WEEK before going out in the sun!

Would you want to buy a sunscreen that warned you to stay out the sun for at least 7 days after applying it?

That’s a decision that many Canadians could soon be facing.

In 2012 the Canadian government’s health agency, proposed new sunscreen rules that would require sunscreens with retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, to be labeled with a clear, strong warning:

“This product contains retinyl palmitate that may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Please limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards”

This label would be required on sunscreens containing more than a tenth of one percent retinyl palmitate, a powerful anti-aging chemical.  An FDA-sponsored study has linked this chemical to skin tumors and lesions in laboratory animals treated with the chemical, then exposed to sunlight.  As well, products containing vitamin A can irritate the skin and increase photosensitivity, as indicated by Canada’s proposed warning label.

If this law passes, Health Canada’s regulations would be considerably stronger than U.S. rules enforced by the federal Food and Drug Administration.  Consumers in both countries confront a similar dilemma.  The sunscreen market is confusing.  Laws requiring more stringent and accurate labeling and regulations have been pushed aside in favor of self regulation since the 70s!

Regulators have not issued rules that are up to date with the latest science on skin cancer and other disorders caused by excessive sun exposure.  Melanoma rates are rising. Many products currently available actually encourage people to spend longer in the sun believing themselves to be adequately protected, and misleading labels and advertisements perpetuate some of the worst myths.

The rules the Canadian government is considering would end some of the worst hype on sunscreen.  They would ban SPF values greater than 50+ and wet skin sprays, neither of which do what they claim.  Products that offer better protection from the less obvious but subtle long term damage of ultraviolet A rays would be labeled clearly something that has been standard in EU sunscreens for some years.

According to a Health Canada spokesperson, the agency plans to issue final rules “as quickly as possible.”

Because the lucrative Canadian market is a significant part of the g U.S. sunscreen business, a change in Canadian regulations could improve the quality of  U.S. sunscreens.

In 2013 U.S. companies have added retinyl palmitate to nearly 25 percent of all beach and sport sunscreens as well as other skin and lip products. EWG (Environmental Working Group) recommends consumers “avoid sunscreen and skin products with retinyl palmitate until the industry can prove it is safe for sun-exposed skin”.

Health Canada has proposed to ban:

  • Sunscreens with SPFs greater than 50+ – numerous studies find that sunscreens with SPF values above 50 offer little additional sunburn protection and lead consumer to misuse them.
  • “Wet skin” sprays, marketed primarily for use on children. Neutrogena, Coppertone, CVS, Rite Aid and Aveeno, sell these products.  Even the wishy-washy  FDA has expressed doubts about the safety and effectiveness of sunscreen sprays
  • Adoption standard for ultraviolet A filtering
  •  Permission for sunscreen makers to add Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL — two superior sunscreen chemicals found in European products.  Better photostable UVA filtering, Sunscreen companies been seeking FDA permission to use these chemicals since 2007.
  • A ban on combinations of mineral and chemical filters without a more rigorous drug approval process. 
  • Disclosure of the specific type of nanomaterials used in mineral sunscreens, a move that could ensure that improper forms of these minerals are not added to products.

Canada’s efforts to improve sunscreen protection are a huge step in the right direction.  The FDA has been unable or unwilling to push through U.S. sunscreen rules that were first instigated when the Bee Gees were in the charts!

For these reasons, we switched to the most highly rated natural sunscreens as recommended by EWG as well as wearing UPF rated sun protection clothing which takes all the guess working out of sun protection and saves us time and $

If you want to check out how well your sunscreen measures up check out EWG’s 2013 Guide to Sunscreens which gives safety ratings to more than 1,400 sunscreens, moisturizers, lip products and makeup with SPF claims. Only 25 percent of the beach and sport sunscreens on this year’s market passing marks for sun protection and absence of toxic ingredients.  Even fewer daily moisturizers, makeups and lip products with SPF pass the EWG test.


50+UPF Sunny Sleevez


About sunnysleevez

I'm a freckly red head, originally from London now living in LA with 2 pale children. Frankly with our coloring we have no business being such an outdoorsy family and living in southern California. I grew up in a time when factor 8 sun milk was considered the best protection available to combat the hot rays of a holiday in southern Spain, that lead to 3rd degree burns and the rest of the vacation spent in the shade of our apartment. As a family we love to be outside, going to the beach, camping, swimming & hiking. We can't completely avoid the sun (nor should we) but taking sensible measures to avoid unnecessary UV damage is a priority. How do we do that? By staying in the shade in the middle of the day, wearing sun protective clothing (that's why I created Sunny Sleevez), a broad brimmed hat, UV rated sunglasses, using chemical-free broad spectrum sun screen on exposed areas & eating a healthy diet with as few chemicals as possible & lots of antioxidants.
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5 Responses to Would You Buy A Sunscreen That Warned You To Avoid The Sun For A WEEK?

  1. Sunrie says:

    So…let me get this straight…They exposed animals to abnormal amounts of sunlight, and they got cancer…so they decided it is this chemical? Yeah…fuck it…sounds logical to me…

  2. I searched high and low two years for herbal sunscreen without fragrance, based only on zinc oxide, for my little one. If it interests, you can look up the Kettle Care brand sun care, I think, is the product. I’ve called them, too, asked about their ingredients. High quality, and effective. Thanks for the follow. We moved out of Irvine where I home-birthed my son, further inland where we are now. =)

  3. Steve Morris says:

    Here’s the link: http://www.ewg.org/2013sunscreen

    I didn’t know about the vitamin A in sunscreens. I use Garnier Ambre Solaire and that has no added vitamin A fortunately.

  4. vicariousli says:

    Thanks for the Follow!

    Regarding this Post:
    If I was going to live as a vampire, why would I need this anti aging ingredient? 1) How well are people going to really see me at night? And 2) Avoiding the sun greatly reduces the signs of aging. I use sunblock so I can be in the sun and reduce the negative effects – NOT increase it.

  5. Thanks for the follow on my WordPress site 🙂
    And thanks for the awesome blog and info on it!
    It is so important to start looking more critically at what we are putting on our skin and whether or not it is helping us in the long run!!!

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