New Rules to Protect Your Skin
June 15, 2011, 9:20 am
Today, the FDA took a giant step toward sorting out the confusing world
of sunscreens, with new rules that will specify which lotions provide
the best protection.
You don't need to tell us about the dangers of too much sun. We lost our good friend, Les Sarnoff, to a deadly form of melanoma, a type of skin cancer that is claiming more lives every year. One in 5 Americans will get skin cancer, a rate that speaks to generations of sun seekers who used baby oil to attract the rays or were sold on lotions that "helped" you get a tan. Thank goodness, times have changed. Today, the FDA took a giant step toward sorting out the confusing world of sunscreens, with new rules that will specify which lotions provide the best protection. The rules will also end claims that sunscreens are waterproof, a big lie.
The F.D.A. said sunscreens must protect equally against two kinds of the sun's radiation, UVB and UVA, to earn the coveted designation of offering "broad spectrum" protection. UVB rays cause burning; UVA rays cause wrinkling; and both cause cancer. Only sunscreens that have a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 15 or higher will be allowed to maintain that they help prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer.
More than two million people in the United States are treated each year for the two most common types of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell, and more than 68,000 receive a diagnosis of melanoma, the most deadly form of the disease.