During college, I worked at a rafting company. Over the course of my time there, I started to notice that on days that I applied sunscreen, I actually burnt worse than on days that I forgot to. We're talking hard-core, blistering sunburns while wearing sunscreen.
A few years later, I had insurance coverage that allowed me to see a dermatologist, so I went. And I asked my dermatologist about the sunscreen issue. She told me that I was most likely allergic to one of the chemicals in sunscreen, and getting a chemical burn from it rather than a sunburn. Ouch.
She recommended La Roche Posay's Anthelios sunscreen, which I've been using since to GREAT results. But it's expensive, and I have to order it through the mail. So I was also hoping to identify back-up sunscreens that I could buy in stores in case I'm out (or in my current case, have misplaced a brand new tube of the stuff).
I headed over to The Environmental Working Group's 2010 Sunscreen Guide, and I was really surprised at what I read. Basically, the EWG ranks sunscreen based on UVB protection, UVA protection, UVA/UVB balance, sunscreen stability, and health concerns.
I had no idea that there were so many health concerns related to sunscreen--for example, did you know that many sunscreens (41% in the US) contain Vitamin A? Vitamin A is typically used as an anti-aging agent in night creams, which is fine. However, when coupled with sun exposure, Vitamin A has been shown (by FDA studies) to speed the development of cancerous tumors. Wow. Luckily for you and me, the EWG's guide notes which sunscreens contain Vitamin A.
So I'm curious--what sunscreen are you using, and how does it score from the EWG?