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Revised Sunscreen Labels Should Help Consumers Make Wiser Choices
Date:5/20/2013

MONDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- Dermatologists are saying that new federally mandated labeling laws for sunscreens should help Americans make smarter choices when it comes to products that provide the best sun protection.

The new labels required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must provide information about whether a sunscreen will protect against skin cancer in addition to sunburn, and will also have to indicate whether a sunscreen is water-resistant, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

All sunscreens that don't meet the new FDA testing requirements have to have warning labels that outline their sun-protective limitations.

A new survey of 1,400 sunscreen products by the Environmental Working Group found that most products meet the new FDA requirements. Still, one in seven products reviewed by the watchdog group claimed a sun protection factor, or SPF, rating higher than 50 -- a claim viewed with skepticism by many dermatologists. SPF numbers like 100 or 150 can give people a false sense of security, prompting them to stay in the sun long after a product's sun-protecting properties have worn off, the Associated Press reported.

"The high SPF numbers are just a gimmick," Marianne Berwick, professor of epidemiology at the University of New Mexico, told the AP. "Most people really don't need more than an SPF 30 and they should reapply it every couple of hours."

Discussing the new FDA labeling requirements, dermatologist Dr. Zoe Draelos, a consulting professor at the Duke University School of Medicine, said, "Sunscreen has always been an important tool in the fight against skin cancer, and these new regulations will greatly improve the consumer's ability to make smart decisions -- at a glance -- about a product's effectiveness simply by reading the label.

"Everyone, regardless of skin color, can get skin cancer, which is why it is important for people to properl
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