Saturday, June 30, 2012

New FDA Rules for Sunscreens

   This year the FDA 's new labeling regulations for sunscreens will go into effect. Say goodbye to SPFs higher than 50, and forget looking for the words "water proof" and "sunblock" on the labels. 

   "I think the goal is to make labeling of sunscreens easier to understand and, frankly, more honest," according to Amanda Bell, MD, owner and medical director of Plush Medical Spa in Dothan, Alabama. "There is no clear evidence that SPFs above 50 provide additional protection from sun damage."

   The words "broad spectrum" may now only be applied to sunscreens that contain both UVA and UVB protection. Ultraviolet-A (UVA) rays primarily cause aging, and UVB rays cause tans and burns. While sunburn is primarily caused by UVB rays, we now know that both UVB & UVA can cause cancer and premature skin aging. The effectiveness standard most of us associate with sunscreens - SPF or sun protection factor - measures only how well they block UVB rays, because scientists used to believe UVB rays acted alone in causing skin cancer

   Beach and pool days are not the only time to think of sunscreens, and Dr. Bell recommends wearing sunscreen daily, applying a layer in the morning before any makeup or moisturizers. "Aging UVA rays penetrate glass and will bombard you through windows and in your car. Living in the South, we tend to get plenty of UV exposure without even trying." 

   "The ultimate goal here is not cosmetic," says Dr. Bell. "We need to do all we can to drastically lower the incidence of melanoma." Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and is the leading cause of death from skin disease. It is the most common cancer in 18-20 year old women, but with the appropriate protection, it is also very preventable.”
To help protect your skin, the new FDA regulations on sunscreen labels include:

  • Skin cancer/ Skin aging alert: SPF 2-14 will be labeled with a warning that reads: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”
  • Water resistance claims: Sunscreen labels must tell how much time a user can expect to get the declared SPF level of protection while swimming or sweating. Two times will be permitted on labels: 40 minutes or 80 minutes.
  • No false claims: Manufacturers cannot make claims that sunscreens are “water proof,” “sweat proof” or offer “instant protection,” nor can they identify their products as “sun blocks.”
  • SPF 50+: Sunscreens can no longer carry an SPF label greater than 50. There are no known benefits for SPF higher than 50.
   Dr Bell recommends avoiding overexposure to the sun and following these tips to reduce your risk of skin cancer:

  • Reapply sunscreen. Reapplication is necessary and should be done depending on SPF protection. If the SPF is a higher number, it means it can be used less frequently.
  • Moderation is key. Avoid sun exposure during its peak times, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and enjoy the sun in moderation.
  • Dress appropriately. “There’s nothing wrong with wearing a light, long-sleeve shirt or a wide-brimmed hat in the sun,” Keidan said.
  • See a dermatologist. Self-examination of the skin is recommended for young adults as well as seeing a dermatologist annually.

   Obagi Medical Skin Care has 5 sunscreens to meet your individual needs, ranging from SPF 32 to 50. Their newest offering is the Nu-Derm Sun Shield SPF50. Their lightest yet most powerful sunscreen to date, it goes on like a moisturizer, easily layering under make-up without feeling greasy or heavy. 

Through August 2012, ALL Obagi sunscreens are 30% off at Plush Medical Spa!

Plush Medical Spa, LLC
548 Westgate Parkway
Dothan, AL 36303