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Summer Safe - Playing Smart with Sunscreen: June 27, 2011

Josh Parker and Ashley Wise think they’re playing it smart with sunscreen.

“I use it anytime I go outside and usually at least 35 or higher,” said Ashley. Josh agrees. “Yeah I’m the same way every time I go out, 30, 35 and 50 if I can.”

Those high numbers may not be providing any added protection. The Food and Drug Administration is rewriting the rules on sunscreen, trying to block out misconceptions.

The new regulations target labels but the ultimate focus in on consumers educating them so they know exactly what they’re getting.

“I think there’s a lot of products being sold and a lot more money being paid for these products than is necessary,” says Dr. Drew Kreegel, a plastic surgeon with Lee Memorial Health System.

As for claims ‘sunblock’, ‘sweat-proof’ and ‘water-proof’; see ya later. Manufacturers can only claim ‘water resistant’ or ‘broad spectrum’ if the product protects from both UVA and UVB rays.

As for the sky high SPFs, fifty is the limit. It’s even lower if the brand makes additional safety claims.

“I think science has only shown really that the SPF factor of 15 offers the protection from the sun for the purposes of preventing skin cancer and accelerated skin aging,” says Dr. Kreegel.

So no more unproven promises.

“I always try to go higher though, just to make sure,” says Ashley Wise.

Delivering only a false sense of protection.

“To some degree that’s hopeful thinking,” says Dr. Kreegel.

The most intense claims are now coming from the FDA.