New sunscreen labels help consumers stay out of the sun - AmericaNowNews.com

New sunscreen labels help consumers stay out of the sun

  • New sunscreen labels help consumers stay out of the sunMore>>

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is overhauling the packaging for sunscreens so it will be easier for consumers to understand what they're really buying.

"Broad spectrum" will mean the sunscreen protects against the sun's UVA and UVB rays.

Only broad spectrum sunscreens with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 15 or higher can claim to reduce skin cancer and skin aging.

Sunscreens will no longer be able to say they are waterproof or sweat-proof.

Sun damage is cumulative, so it's important to start protecting skin early. New federal sunscreen rules should make it easier to understand labels, but there are some things that don't change.

The experts say you want broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB radiation from the sun.

Just ask the folks at the Arizona Cancer Center Skin Cancer Institute.

"Here in the desert I always recommend SPF 30 or higher, just because an SPF of 15 is about 92 percent protective. An SPF of 30, it jumps to about 97 or 98 percent protection. I think that's a big jump. Past that, you're not getting much UVB protection out of a product," says Lisa Quale of the Institute.

Quale says look for products that contain at least one of these three ingredients:  Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or avobenzone.

UVA radiation causes premature aging.  UVB causes sunburn. Quale say both can contribute to skin cancer, and together they are worse.   

She says, of course, sunscreen is just one way to protect ourselves. It's best to cover up with long sleeves, long pants, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

Arizona Cancer Center researchers are working on ways to prevent skin cancer, looking at a half-dozen chemical treatments. Some already are being used to treat the disease. The goals is that someday we will have a skin cream that actually would reverse skin cell damage by changing the "instructions" the damaged cells are getting.

Arizona Cancer Center researcher, Dr. Steven Stratton, says: "So, if some of these have gone a little wacky, and we can stop that message in it's tracks, those cells will eventually turn over and disappear and what you would be left with is cells with the proper messaging that would look more normal."

This would also stop the cells from becoming cancerous.

Dr. Stratton says we could see the first tests on people in about a year. Until then, the new FDA-approved sunscreen labels are expected to be ready to go by next summer.

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