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How Effective Is Your Sunscreen?

Recently there was a law suit filed against sunscreen manufacturers in California as they had exaggerated the effectiveness of their products. // Dermatologists on the other hand still recommend the liberal use of sunscreen. But some say that neither the sun protection factor (SPF) ratings nor the label on the products gives a clear picture to the consumers. Ultraviolet A rays does not cause burning but do cause aging of the skin and potentially cancer.

Dr. James Spencer, a St. Petersburg, Fla., dermatologist and clinical professor of dermatology for Mount Sinai School of Medicine said that sunscreens used properly is a very useful tool. He says one should not spend too much time in the sun as they are putting themselves in great peril. There are different types of sunlight that is responsible for skin damages they are UVA and UVB. It is well understood that UVB is the causative agent for skin cancer and also causes sunburns. But scientists come face to face with the deadly truth that UVA also causes premature aging of the skin and, results in the skin's genetic damage which leads to skin cancer.

UVA can also penetrate windows to reach people indoors. But the sad part is that there is no way to measure the UVA rays. Scientists are not aware of the amount of UVA that would contribute to skin cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate due to melanoma has climbed about 4 %. The Food and Drug Administration drafted a slate of regulations on sunscreen manufacturers but never formally adopted them as they bowed to pressure from the sunscreen lobby. Dr. John Meisenheimer, chief of dermatology for Orlando Regional Healthcare System advises his patients to use products that offer an SPF rating of 30 or higher as well as those that claim broad-spectrum protection.


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