"Available peer-reviewed scientific literature and regulatory assessments from national and international bodies do not support a link between oxybenzone in sunscreen and hormonal alterations, or other significant health issues in humans," said Dr. Daniel M. Siegel, president of the AAD, in a 2012 statement.
"The FDA has approved oxybenzone in sunscreen for use on children older than six months, and dermatologists continue to encourage protecting children by playing in the shade, wearing protective clothing and applying broad-spectrum sunscreen."
Lotion or Spay?
Despite the convenience of spray sunscreens, most groups are recommending avoiding or limiting use of them out of concern that nano-particles find their way into lungs. The FDA has requested data from manufacturers before making a recommendation, and the AAD and Consumer Reports say to use with caution, especially on children. EWG recommends avoiding them entirely.
Should You Tan At All?
Brewer often gets asked, What's the right amount of tan I can get?
"The strict medical answer is that the sun is a proven carcinogen," he said. "It's probably the most common carcinogen known to man...so there really is no tan that is a healthy tan. Any amount of tan means your skin has been exposed to a carcinogen which increases the chances of cancer years later...and if you're wearing sunscreen and still getting tan, then you're not putting it on often enough or thick enough."
The EWG recommends avoiding the sun during peak hours and wearing naturally sun-resistant clothing (hold it up to the sun to see how much light gets through), hats, and sunglasses, in combination with a safe sunscreen.
"If I were giving recommendations, I'd say to find something you'll use," Brewer said. "I get asked all the time, what's the right sunscreen for me? I can explain what SPF means, but the bottom line is, if you're going to use the SPF 15 every day because it's easy to put on," that's probably the best choice. It's the habit that’s protective. Even an SPF of 15 put on daily can decrease the chances of skin cancer by 50 percent over a person's lifetime.