Ask Dr. Collins: Do Sunscreen Options with Higher SPF Make a Difference?
Posted by Chelsea Harris & filed under .
Do sunscreens with higher SPF make a difference?Sunscreens were mislabeled for decades, but new rules by the Federal Drug Administration passed last year will make picking out the right sunscreen easier to navigate this summer.
The new regulations got rid of high SPF options, like the SPF 75 or 100-plus, that you used to see on the shelf. You only need a sunscreen with a SPF ranging from 30 to 50.
Aside from SPF, there are a few additional things to look for on the bottle’s label. First, make sure the sunscreen is water-resistant. The new FDA regulations don’t allow the misuse of the term “waterproof,” any longer. Keep in mind sunscreen is only truly water-resistant for two hours or less. Sunscreen needs to be re-applied every two hours to be effective.
Secondly, look for the words “Broad Spectrum” on the label, which means the product provides protection from UVA and UVB rays. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer.
Make sure zinc oxide is a key ingredient instead of synthetic chemicals, which can be harmful to your skin. Most zinc oxide is transparent these days, so you won’t need to worry about that white nose lifeguard-look. Remember, frequent and generous sunscreen use is the best way to prevent skin cancer!
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