Physical (not chemical) sunscreens are well-loved by the testing for bad things at EWG but:
1. They are difficult to apply and you end up looking white and doesn’t feel great
“Buying a more expensive sunscreen with fewer potentially harmful chemicals that feels gross, smells weird, and doesn’t make you want to reapply is going to result in skin damage that will far exceed any potential damage done by chemicals.” http://kottke.org/15/07/whats-the-best-sunscreen
2. The “data gaps” in what EWG is able to figure out is good or bad is pretty large. So even if you take the top performers, if 50% of the stuff they don’t know about ends up being bad, then that completely rejiggers the scale of good vs bad. They’d still probably be better than others, but not quite a good. For example, EWG a few years ago added the “physical” and “chemical” filters and also a “no nanoparticles” option, since there is disagreement on whether that’s safe.
REVIEW: Beyond Coastal Active SPF 34 Sunscreen
But I haven’t completely given up!
1. Endocrine disrupters are nasty things, so if you CAN find a sunscreen that doesn’t have them (or less of them) then it’s worth it.
2. Broad spectrim UVA and UVB is worth it
3. There are some chemical sunscreens that do well on EWGs scale and since they are chemical, not physical, they don’t have all the problems.
A few years ago I found an EWG pick that smells fine, goes on fine (as in, the kids can do it themselves and without complaint), and ok, is kinda expensive, but oh well. The kids needs sunscreen almost year round since they are outside at sudval.org so much.
Amazon, around $14 but I’ve also seen it at Whole Foods I believe for about the same price.