FDA makes changes to sunscreen labels to help consumers choose properly

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by Mia Gradney / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 7, 2012 at 9:02 AM

HOUSTON—Whether you worship it, play in it or work in it, you should protect your skin from the sun. Tori Guerrini takes sun safety seriously.

“I had a grandmother who passed away of malignant melanoma,” said Guerrini, yet she’s in the dark about big changes coming to sunscreen bottles.
The FDA has called for mandatory sunscreen changes to help consumers better understand what they’re buying. The rules will go into effect in the next few months and some companies have already made the switch.
“The changes are actually a very important one,” says Dr. Henry Lim, the dermatologist chair at the Henry Ford Hospital. 
Dr. Lim says sunscreen rules are currently in place for Ultraviolet-B, which primarily causes sunburn, but not Ultraviolet-A, which can lead to wrinkles and skin cancer.
The upcoming changes mean sunscreens will have to pass a UVA and an SPF protection test to carry this label.
“Right now, there are products out there on the market that say broad spectrum sunscreen,” said Dr. Lim. 
However, sunscreens SPF-15 or higher that pass the test can claim to reduce the risk of early skin aging and cancer. Another big change is sunscreens will no longer be able to claim to be water or sweat proof.   You should look for brands that are water resistant for 40 to 80 minutes. 
Sunscreen should be reapplied throughout the day. Dr. Lim recommends applying it every two hours if participating in outdoor activities. Also, make sure you’re using enough. Dr. Lim said you’ll need about an ounce of lotion to cover your entire body every two hours; essentially the size of a golf ball.

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