Keep Your Skin Safe This Summer

Have you ever looked closely at your bottle of sunscreen? Is yours from a few years ago like mine? The FDA is setting new standards for sunscreen labeling so you know what kind of protection you’ll have with your product. Take a look at your bottle and see whether your sunscreen makes the cut.

UVA, UVB, Broad Spectrum and SPF Protection

Sunscreen standards

Only sunscreen labeled with both “Broad Spectrum” and SPF 15 or higher have been shown to reduce the risk of skin cancer, early skin aging, and sunburn.

You might be asking “What in the the world are UVA and UVB?”  Sunburn is primarily caused by ultraviolet B radiation (UVB).  Ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) doesn’t burn your skin, but can cause invisible damage leading to skin cancer and premature skin aging. Broad Spectrum protection of the sun’s rays will keep your skin safer this summer.

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the amount of UV radiation required to cause sunburn on skin with the sunscreen on, relative to the amount required without the sunscreen.

Starting next year the FDA is requiring the label on your sunscreen to be marked Broad Spectrum and have an SPF between 15 and 50 and will only be allowed on the market if their product is backed up by testing.

But what about this year? What should you look for?

You should look for: UVA & UVB protection and an SPF 15 or higher. Any claims of waterproof or sweat-proof or of lasting longer than 2 hours should be doubted since those won’t be allowed on the labels under the new standards unless proven by data. SPF numbers greater than 50 won’t be allowed either.

Sun Safety Tips

Spending time in the sun increases the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.  To reduce this risk, consumers should regularly use sun protection measures including:

  • Use sunscreens with Broad Spectrum protection and SPF 15 or higher regularly and as directed.
  • Limit time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.
  • Wear clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun; for example, long-sleeved shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brimmed hats.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, more often if you’re sweating or jumping in and out of the water.

MelanomaFind more information at the library about melanoma and other skin cancers to keep your skin safe and healthy.

And the bottom line? Be careful in the sun and pick up a new bottle of sunscreen next year when the regulations take effect so you and your family are well-protected.

Photo credits: paalia & { pranav }

You can find me at the Media Desk and helping people with their Interlibrary Loan requests. I love to talk (and learn more) about spinning, knitting, weaving, crochet and any other fiber arts you can mention. Need assistance with a pattern or technique? I might be able to help. I am currently reading (and being inspired by) An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler, The Circle by Dave Eggers, and Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich. Current projects: making special gifts for new babies, cooking new recipes, discovering old (but new-to-me) crochet stitches, and getting my floor loom warped.