Sunburns and Sunscreen

As someone whom is, shall we say, pigment challenged I am fairly close to an expert on sunscreens. Nothing and I truly mean nothing ruins my day more than not having sunscreen on and feeling my skin burn.

This is the first summer that new federal rules require the sunscreen companies to include more information on their labels. If a company wants to say their sunscreen is “broad spectrum”, they must block both UVA and UVB, two of the more harmul types of rays the sun produces. In order to be considered broad sprectrum the SPF must be at least 15.

If a sunblock is not “broad spectrum” it will only prevent sunburns, it will not provide protection from UVA and UVB rays.

Products that boast high SPF levels — claims critics contend are misleading and dangerous — will still be allowed. The FDA says it has no evidence that sunscreens with an SPF above 50 provide any greater protection than those with a lower SPF, but declined to ban the higher ratings, saying more study is needed.

The issue with the higher ratings is that people are more likely to no reapply the sunscreen often enough. A study also showed that people thought they could stay in the sun for longer periods of time if they used the higher SPF. This is a huge mistake!

Apparently Europe has different chemicals in their sunscreens that are much more effective than the American ones. Unfortunately the FDA has not approved these chemicals and appears to be dragging it’s feet in the approval process.

The agency’s new rules for sunscreen labeling prohibit manufacturers from claiming sunscreens are waterproof or sweatproof — claims not backed by science. If a sunblock is water resistant it must state when you need to re-apply for max protection. Currently there are only two options; 40 minutes of 80 minutes.


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