The Most Toxic Sunscreens (and Safer Options)

Learn which sunscreens you should avoid, and which ones you can trust for you and your family.

May 14, 2015
Sunscreen toxic and safer
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UPDATE: Read the 2016  list of most toxic sunscreens here.

Trying to find the safest, most effective sunscreen used to be a real hassle. Sky-high SPFs might give you a false sense of security, and newer aerosol sprays could deliver harmful chemicals directly into your lungs. Luckily, Environmental Working Group (EWG) has taken the guesswork out of finding the best sunscreen (and the most toxic sunscreen), and today released its 2015 Guide to Sunscreens. We've listed some of the sunscreens rated best on the market in terms of both safety and effectiveness below.

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Best Sunscreens From EWG's 2015 Guide

EWG's sunscreen report also ID'd what it's calling the "Hall of Shame," sunscreen products that are not only a waste of money, but also are potentially harmful. The organization recommends avoiding these sunscreens because they may contain oxybenzone, a chemical that can create abnormal changes in hormones. Some also contain retinyl palmitate, which could trigger damage and possibly cancer.

Others tout a superhigh SPF, which is basically a rip-off, since EWG says SPF protection tops out at 30 to 50. And still others contain harmful aerosols.

EWG's Hall of Shame Sunscreens

  • Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Ultra Defense MAX Skin Protect Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110
  • Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
  • Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Kids Max Protect & Play Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110
  • 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
  • Coppertone Sport High Performance Sunscreen, SPF 75
  • Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
  • Coppertone Ultra Guard Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+
  • 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
  • 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
  • CVS Sun Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70
  • 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
  • Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Beach & Pool Sunblock Spray, SPF 70+
  • NO-AD Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 60
  • NO-AD Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 85
  • Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
  • Equate Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
  • Kroger Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
  • Kroger Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70
  • Up & Up Kid's Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55