Majority of sunscreens don't stand up to protection claims, report says

Most sunscreens don't live up to claims
Most sunscreens don't live up to claims

Only a handful of the hundreds of sunscreen products actually protect from harmful rays as much as they claim, and some also include potentially harmful ingredients, according to a new environmental advocacy group report.

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group recommends only 39 of 500 beach and sport sunscreens in its fourth annual Sunscreen Guide -- about 8 percent of the products on the market. The guide assessed 1,400 items including sunblock, lip balm, moisturizers and make-up that claim a sun protection factor, or SPF, a measure of effectiveness.

"Many sunscreens available in the U.S. may be the equivalent of modern-day snake oil, plying customers with claims of broad-spectrum protection but not providing it, while exposing people to potentially hazardous chemicals that can penetrate the skin into the body," Jane Houlihan, EWG Senior Vice President for Research, said in a statement.