With summer practically here, people are stocking up on sunscreen to safely spend time in the sun. Thanks to new FDA regulations, sunscreen shoppers will be greeted by reformulated sunscreens, with redesigned labels. What is written on these new labels, and how should it be interpreted?
UVA and UVB Protection – UVA rays are known for causing wrinkles and skin cancer, while UVB rays are primarily known for causing sunburn. In the past, many sunscreens only offered protection against UVB rays, leaving many vulnerable to skin cancer and wrinkles. For the utmost in beachgoers’ safety, all new sunscreens are required to provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
“Waterproof” No More – Many sunscreens used to proudly proclaim “waterproof” on their label. As a result, many people were fooled into thinking that one application of their sunscreen was sufficient for the entire day, greatly increasing their risk of sunburn, or even worse, skin cancer. To make things easier, no new sunscreens are allowed to be labeled “waterproof.”
SPF Protection – Sunscreens have always mentioned the SPF, or “Sun Protection Factor,” they contained. While a higher SPF typically offers better protection than a lower SPF, most sunscreens with an SPF greater than 50 offer minimal advantages compared to those with lower SPFs. For many years the FDA has wanted sunscreens to max out at SPF 50; however, this is a heated topic within the dermatology field, as some argue that higher SPFs do offer a valuable increase in sun protection.
Have Fun and Be Safe!
While enjoying your time in the sun, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if swimming or sweating.
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