Healthy Living: Sunscreen changes
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Savvy consumers may notice a number of changes to any new over-the-counter sunscreen products hitting stores by mid-June.
To break it down, dermatologists point out three key changes to be aware of. Those include limits on SPF, and changes to the definition of broad spectrum and waterproof.
Dr. Heidi Waldorf, Director of Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology at Mt Sinai said, “The first change is the top SPF you should be looking for is SPF 50+. Many consumers come in complaining that they still have gotten sun while using a SPF 100 and not understanding why they still got tan.”
SPF or "sun protection factor" helps guard against Ultraviolet B rays which cause most sunburn. Unless manufacturers can prove otherwise, Food & Drug Administration officials say there’s no evidence at this point that an SPF over 50 is any stronger.
Products that guard against both UVB AND more harmful, cancer-causing UVA rays get a "broad spectrum" label. Only products with an SPF of 15 or higher and a broad spectrum label will be able to indicate they can help prevent sunburn, skin aging and skin cancer.
Debra Jaliman, Author of "Skin Rules” said, “Sunscreen will no longer say water proof. It will say water resistant. It will be either 40 minutes or 80 minutes. When you go in the water you want to know you will be toweling off, I recommend that you reapply your sunscreen because of course even if it is water resistant you will still need to reapply it.”
Dermatologists say knowing what kind of labeling to look for is only half the battle when it comes to sun protection. The other half is knowing how to use it.
Jaliman said, “Every day you walk outside and it may be a cloudy day or a sunny day and you may say you don’t need protection but sun damage is cumulative. Even if you’re outside for five minutes you are getting sun damage.”
Waldorf said, “We stress to patients that they need to re apply sunblock every one to two hours when outdoors and after swimming/sweating or toweling off. I hope by picking products that will also have broad spectrum against UVA and UVB with a SPF of at least 15 they will start to use it more effectively.”