The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and it’s site on skincare products.

Hi Dr. Irwin, I love your Web site and your books! And, I'm grateful that you are willing to take the time to share your knowledge with us! I have a question about products and their safety. Are you familiar with the EWG group and its Web site? The environmental working group rates the safety of products, including products for your skin! When I look at some of the most commonly recommended sunscreens, such as the Elta products are listed as moderate hazard most notably for its octinoxate ingredient, which is a 6. The site rates many other products, including Skin Medica, Neocutis, Eminence, etc., and some have hazardous ratings due to ingredients. What is your thought about this site, and about its ratings? What do you think of octinoxate, which EWG claims can induce biochemical changes and developmental toxicity. Thank you!

Thank you!

I have a great deal of respect for the EWG and what they are trying to accomplish.   I do think you need to assess their information with a critical eye though. 

On this issue:   Are your cancer risks higher if you don’t use a high quality sunscreen or from the small amount of octinoxate in the product, especially if you consider that “6” rating is from data that has nothing to do with sunscreen. 

Are you eating the octinoxate and are you the size of a rat?  I’m guessing not!  (Hopefully :))  If you feed all sorts of things to rats in high enough quantities, they will cause cancer and birth defects.  

I think you all see what I’m trying to say.   We just need to take the EWG information and put it in a context and decide what we think is sensible. 

Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin, and I believe that consumers need and deserve a medically trained and unbiased skincare advocate.

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