How not to choose a sunscreen

Consumer Reports may be great for choosing a car or a toaster. But when it comes to sun protection, ignore whatever you read in that magazine -- because their latest list of recommended sunscreens may be the worst one yet.

Sure, they cut through the bull and tell you which ones deliver the promised SPF and which ones don't, and they compare prices so you can see which ones offer the biggest bang for your buck.

But sun safety is about a lot more than dollars and SPF.

It's about the ingredients in the sunscreen -- and most of them are loaded with dangerous and even cancer-causing chemicals, including just about every single one given the thumbs-up by Consumer Reports.

For example, many sunscreens use oxybenzone, an endocrine-disrupting chemical that can cause developmental problems in children and babies, reproductive problems in adults, organ damage and more.

Sunscreens often contain other endocrine-disrupting chemicals and many actually contain a known carcinogen. It's a form of vitamin A called retinyl palmitate, and it's found in a number of cosmetics -- but government tests have shown that it can speed the formation of tumors, especially when combined with UV light.

Yes, that's sunlight. You couldn't think of a worse ingredient for a sunscreen if you tried!

Another danger is nanoparticles, which can penetrate the skin and enter your body. Once inside, they could damage organs and even cross the blood-brain barrier and do some damage inside your head.

I recommend an all-natural sunscreen that uses micronized, but non-nano, zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. For more help on choosing a quality sunscreen with safe ingredients, check out the Environmental Working Group's website, which rates each sunscreen based on safety and lists the potential concerns for each ingredient.

Click here for more.

And remember: the best sun protection of all is a hat and clothing, or at least a patch of shade.