How effective is your sunscreen?

July 3, 2009 1:51:36 PM PDT
Sunscreens are improving but still don't offer enough protection, according to a new study from a watchdog group. The Environmental Working Group gives the sunscreen industry a C-minus.

The group is critical of the FDA, too. It claims the FDA is lagging behind other countries because it has approved only 17 sunscreen chemicals compared to at least 29 in other countries.

Dermatologists say look for a product that offers UVA and UVB protection. SPF is also important.

"The SPF affects your UVB protection-- the amount of time it takes to burn so an SPF of 30 or higher is good, but above 50--really doesn't make much difference. It's such a small amount of incremental protection that if you look for 30-to-50 you are fine but above that it doesn't really help," said Dr. Doris Day, dermatologist.

Dermatologists also remind us to reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours when we are outside.


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