It was a busy few days after the FDA announced its new sunscreen labeling guidelines. On balance, the public will benefit but complete clarity remains elusive. Bottom line: use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 that also provides broad spectrum (ingredients to look for: avobenzone or zinc oxide) apply every couple of hours while active outdoors (claims of sweat-proof and waterproof will no longer be accepted by the FDA); and make sure that you avoid the sun during peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm. Don’tforget hats and other sun protective clothing as you’ll read in the NPR interview.
Here’s a brief extract of my comments from All Things Considered with Nancy Shute:
The FDA says there’s no such thing as a waterproof sunscreen. They all wash off in the pool, or with sweat. Starting next summer, the best a label will be able to claim is that a sunscreen is water resistant.
“A white T-shirt gives you a sun protection factor of 6, which frankly is not very helpful at all,” he says. “But there are so many products out there: sun-protective clothing products that are rated for their sun protection and don’t look like prison uniforms anymore. They actually look like real clothing.”
And protective clothing that looks like real clothes is a good thing, because skin cancer rates in young people are on the rise. Leffell is seeing cases of young women in their 20s developing skin cancer, “which used to be unheard of,” he says.
Also, other points are made in the Hartford Courant