What does waterproof, broad-based or SPF really mean? The FDA has yet to issue final regulations for sunscreen products. That means manufacturers are not required to prove that products meet these advertising claims. Ever see a commercial for a sunscreen that has an SPF of 100? Ever wonder if it really works?
According to the 2010 Sunscreen Report published by the Environmental Working Group, in everyday practice, an SPF of 100 actually performs like an SPF of 3.2, an SPF of 30 is actually an SPF of 2.3 and an SPF of 15 is actually and SPF of 2 because people do not apply the proper amount of sunscreen. Also, a form of vitamin A known as retinyl palmitate is found in 41% of sunscreens and is currently being tested for safety by the FDA for photocarcinogenic qualities, meaning cancer causing by UV rays. Sunscreen products that are in the form of sprays or powders can lead to respiratory problems and should also be avoided.
What You Can Do to protect yourself in the sun by following these steps offered by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention:
- Avoid burning, intentional tanning and using tanning beds
- Apply sunscreen generously
- Wear sun-protective clothing, wide brimmed hat and sunglasses
- Seek shade and limit exposure during hottest part of the day (10 am to 4 pm)
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as these are reflective surfaces.