I'm intending this as a quick review of the most current information I could find on sunscreens so that you can make a better choice when trying to decide what products to use. The best information is at the Environmental Working Group website, which is www.ewg.org. Specifically, here is the link to the 2014 guidelines for sunscreen. I've tried to select out some of the most crucial information bites, and here they are:
-Rates of Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, have tripled since the 1970's.
-There have been few improvements in safety and efficacy of sunscreens in the last decade.
-There are more zinc oxide and titanium dioxide based sunscreens on the market, which the EWG considers a good thing because they do not penetrate the skin and the offer good UV protection.
-According to the EWG, two out of three skin care products currently on the market don't work well enough or contain toxic ingredients.
-The EWG suggests that high SPF numbers are no measure of sunscreen effectiveness. The reason for this is that SPF reflects a sunscreen's ability to block out UVB rays (your main source of vitamin D), and not UVA rays, which cause skin damage, immune suppression, and possibly melanoma. You can overdo both forms of radiation, but realize that most sunscreens block UVB, not UVA. UVA actually penetrates into deeper layers of skin as well.
-Bottom line from my perspective: Look for the non-spray form of sunscreen that primarily uses zinc and/or titanium as the main ingredients (zinc oxide is more effective than titanium, but they're often found together). Products that say "natural", which often means nothing, in this case probably do have less of the other toxic ingredients (vitamin A and oxybenzone are two of the worst). Certainly try to avoid excessive exposure at any one time in order to prevent getting burned.
Again, for more information, go to www.ewg.org.