FDA considers new guidelines for sunscreen ingredients, packaging

U.S. & World

(NBC) – It may only be spring, but the sun is at summertime strength, making sunscreen an essential seasonal accessory.

Dermatologists suggest using a minimum SPF 30 or higher plus broad spectrum sunscreen with both mineral and chemical UV filters.

Dr. Adam Friedman of the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences says, “You want a product that has multiple sunscreen ingredients because they kind of play nice together and give you the best bang for your buck in terms of protection.”

But the FDA announced recently it’s taking a closer look at the safety of some sunscreen ingredients. Chemicals like oxybenzone can be absorbed into the skin, but whether that means it causes harm is debatable.

Says Friedman, “The FDA is doing their job. They are trying to keep us safe, but given these ingredients have been around in consumer products and used for decades upon decades, I would argue that they are safe and an effective way to prevent skin cancer.”

An argument echoed by many sun safety experts who estimate one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Dermatologists still recommend applying sunscreen every day to all exposed skin, especially the head, hands and legs.

… And don’t forget to slather the kids even if it’s clearly not their favorite part of summer.

Labels could also change with the FDA proposal with active ingredients clearly listed on the front of packaging rather than in the fine print.

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