Sunscreen Lotions that Work – Know Your Sunscreen
New FDA Guidelines are forthcoming that will help consumers spot sunscreen effectiveness. Right now, labels are misguided, leaving you to choose lotions that may be ineffective. With skin cancer on the rise, it pays to know how to protect yourself.
CONFUSED ABOUT whether or not to use sunscreen, or which one works? The FDA has announced new mandates that reflect more than three decades of study. By the summer of 2010, changes to sunscreen labels will be enforced.
These lotions will have to indicate if they protect against UVA and UVB radiation; currently, the label only needs to refer to UVB. If both UVA and UVB protection is not offered by 2010, the manufacturer cannot assert that their lotion protects against skin cancer or early skin aging.
What’s more, the new regulations will mandate that sunscreen lotions will no longer be able to advertise a SPF – sun protection factor – greater than 50.
Judy Woodruff of the PBS Newshour (the best news show on TV in my humble opinion), recently interviewed Dr. Ali Hendi, a dermatologist with The Skin Cancer Foundation.
Here’s some bottom line assertions that Dr. Hendi made in the interview:
– With the new guidelines, a product cannot label itself as being waterproof or a sunblock. Those do not exist. There’s no ingredient that is a total sunblock. And there’s no product that is waterproof.
– When outdoors, apply sunscreen every two hours. If swimming or sweating, apply sunscreen after the activity is finished.
– UVB rays do not penetrate deeply; they can be blocked by the glass in your car, for example. UVA rays penetrate deeply and are known to cause skin cancer. It’s important to have protection from both UVA and UVB.
– Skin cancer and skin damage from sun exposure is happening to more young people today than in the past. Oftentimes, the damage is from exposure a decade earlier. Young women are developing skin cancer in greater numbers than men which is thought to be due to their greater use of tanning beds that use U.V. radiation, a known carcinogen.
If you’re a sun lover, or want to know more about this topic, listen to the Judy Woodruff Interview (sorry, no longer available) or go to the PBS Newshour and watch the interview here.