EWG’s Ken Cook Shares His Best Advice on Sun Safety

The sun is finally start to shine bright, and you’re ready to lather yourself with clean, healthy sunscreen, but finding a safe and effective sunscreen isn’t the only key to sun safety. According to Ken Cook, President and Co-Founder of Environmental Working Group (EWG) and a leader in the environmental health movement, protecting yourself from skin cancer is more than just sunscreen; there’s an entire sun safety protocol to follow. Ken educated the Beautycounter community about his tips and tricks—and we’re sharing his words of wisdom with the Be Well community too.

The Facts

  • Skin cancer, often overlooked in our current “tanning culture,” is a real public health threat.
  • During their lifetimes, 40%-50% of Americans who live to 65 will be diagnosed with at least one of two skin cancer tumors.

How To Find Safer Sunscreen

  • Many sunscreens use chemical sunblockers like oxybenzone, which soaks through skin, can trigger allergic skin reactions, and may be a hormone disruptor. Look for mineral sunscreens, like our Protect All Over Sunscreen and Dew Skin tinted moisturizer, which use non-nano zinc oxide—an effective, natural, and safer mineral sunblocker.
  • Prioritize broad-spectrum sunscreens.
  • Find water-resistant brands.

What To Avoid

  • Ingredients like oxybenzone and vitamin A (retinyl palmitate)
  • Sunscreens with added insect repellent
  • Anything above SPF 50, which can give a false sense of security and has unclear added sun protection
  • Make sure you’re not using sunscreen as a way to prolong your hours in the sun.
  • Wear clothing with SPF, like rash guards, hats, and sunglasses.
  • Avoid getting a sunburn—especially children. It’s a significant risk factor in developing skin cancer later in life.
  • Read and share EWG’s recently released annual sun safety report.

Our goal is to give you the tools to make better decisions—regardless of whether or not your sun safety solutions include Beautycounter. Together, we can help to protect against skin cancer and create a healthier world for all of us.

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