New suncreen changes

August 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Don't get burned by your bottle! The FDA has called for mandatory sunscreen changes to help people better understand what they're buying.

The rules will go into effect in the next few months, but some companies have already made the switch!

Whether you worship, play in it, or work in it - you should protect your skin from it.

Tori Guerrini takes sun safety seriously.

"I had a grandmother who passed away of malignant melanoma," Guerrini told Action News.

But like most others, she's in the dark about big changes coming to sunscreen bottles.

"The changes are actually a very important one," Henry W. Lim, M.D., Chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital told Action News.

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,'" Dr. Lim said.

Only sunscreens SPF 15 or higher that pass the test can claim to reduce the risk of early skin aging and skin cancer. Another big change is that sunscreens will no longer be able to claim to be water or sweat proof. Look for brands that are water resistant for 40 or 80 minutes. And remember, keep covering your skin with sunscreen throughout the day.

"It has to be re-applied every two hours if one participates in outdoor activities," Dr. Lin concluded.

Also make sure you're using enough. You'll need about an ounce of lotion to cover your entire body every two hours - that's essentially the size of a golf ball.

The new rules were slated to go into effect this summer, but were pushed back to December for most manufacturers after they claimed they weren't given enough time to comply. Doctor Lim recommends people use sunscreens that are SPF 30 to SPF 50. He says beyond that there is only a very small increase in UV protection.

For more information, contact:

David Olejarz
Media Relations
Henry Ford Hospital
(313) 874-4094


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