New Sunscreen Guidelines May Cause Confusion
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The FDA ordered those changes last summer. However, it gave manufacturers until June of this year to get the revised product on store shelves.
So you don't end up looking like Patricia Krentcil, the tanning mom from New Jersey, dermatologists recommend using sunscreen every time you venture outdoors. New regulations that are supposed to be in effect this year define broad spectrum and water resistant sunscreens and how long they last.
"In the past, we've had SPF and SPF has been very confusing because SPF, people thought, was total protection but it's not, it's time of protection. Now, using the term broad spectrum means that we'll be able to have coverage in both Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B range, which are both of the wavelengths of light that are responsible for wrinkling as well as skin cancer," said Dr. Brett Shulman, dermatologist.
The new packaging was supposed to come out this year, but some manufacturers are having problems meeting deadlines. That could result in shortages of sunscreen because the new labeling is not there. Some of the new products may not be available until next year and that could lead to confusion.
"If you look at the package and see that it says water resistant and there's a time limit on it, or you see an SPF that is 50 or below, you are getting new packaging, but if it's SPF of 50 or above or you see waterproof or water resistant, you're getting old packaging,” said Shulman. “You need to understand that the old packaging may be confusing, but if you are re-applying sunscreen every two hours and you are using sunscreen everyday regardless of how cloudy it is, you are going to be protecting yourself and reducing the amount of wrinkles and skin cancer you're going to develop later in life."
If you're in a situation where you're in the water or sweating, it's recommended that sunscreen be re-applied more frequently than once every two hours.