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Despite Claims, Many Daily Moisturizers Don't Shield Against Sun: Study
Date:1/18/2011

By Kathleen Doheny
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Few facial skin creams that promise "broad-spectrum" sun protection actually measure up, according to new research.

Dermatologists evaluated 29 top-selling daytime moisturizers claiming to provide broad-spectrum protection from the sun's ultraviolet rays and found only a few offered reliable protection from harmful UV-A rays, which can penetrate glass.

"The vast majority of the products out there don't seem to provide adequate UV-A protection," said study leader Dr. Steven Wang, director of dermatologic surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Basking Ridge, N.J.

Most of the creams "don't contain the right combination of ingredients, and they don't contain the adequate concentration of ingredients," he said.

The study results are reported in a letter published online Jan. 17 in Archives of Dermatology.

Broad-spectrum UV coverage means the product shields users from UV-A and UV-B exposure, both of which contribute to premature skin aging and skin cancer.

Testing was needed, Wang said, because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate UV-A protection in sunscreen products.

The sun protection factor (SPF) printed on sunscreen containers refers to how well products protect against UV-B rays, which do not penetrate glass.

Regulations to set UV-A ratings have been pending for years, and the lag is unfortunate, because protection from both sources of ultraviolet rays is crucial, Wang and other experts say.

Many women apply an SPF-rated facial cream as their only sunscreen source, believing that if it says broad-spectrum they have complete protection, Wang said. But those who spend most of their day indoors may be exposed to harmful UV-A rays that pass through office and car windows.

According to product labels, the SPFs of the creams studied ranged from 15 to 50. Prices
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