There’s no end to the story…until 2012

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

Maybe you are better at retaining the information about sunscreen. In looking for an easier way, I learned the FDA is working on sunscreen regulations, but the new standards will not be in place until 2012.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has looked at more than 1,400 skincare products, and has this to say (no idea if they know more or less than the FDA, however): EWG warns against products containing retinyl palmitate (in more than 40 percent of sunscreens, they say). The FDA is investigating whether this accelerates skin damage and increases cancer risk when applied to skin exposed to the sunlight.

Information about recommended products is at

For your consideration regarding desirable (and not so desirable) ingredients:

1) Look for a percentage of content of zinc oxide (along with titanium oxide). This offers broad spectrum protection, and is used to deflect the sun’s rays (rather than synthetic chemicals, which absorb rays, penetrating the skin and entering your bloodstream).

2) Avoid fragrances, preservatives or dyes.

3) Look for products containing organic/natural ingredients, especially in the oils, which can help moisturize and soothe skin.

4) Look for products that are “paraben-free” or “phthalates excluded” or “free from PABA, cinnamates, benzophenones.” (Who even knows what some of these things are?)

5) Look for products that contain NO petroleum chemicals or animal byproducts. Or, maybe you are more concerned about whether animals are used in the testing of the products. At least one company uses solar power to create their end products.

Want more help? Check out the UV Sunsense bracelet (read about it at…it’s a wristband that tells you it is time to reapply sunscreen.You simply put sunscreen on it, it turns purple, indicating activation, and when it turns pink, it’s time to reapply or get out of the sun! Available at Walgreens and other stores. They are only good for one-time use, but are made of No. 5 plastic, so they can be recycled!

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at

From the Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2010 issue

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