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Practice Safe Sunscreen: Using SPF Protection to Avoid Getting Burned

Find out what the new FDA regulations on sunscreen mean to you—and how to use SPF protection to avoid burns, wrinkles and skin cancer.

Man rubbing sunblock on woman

Cover All Your Bases

The SPF number refers to UVB rays, which cause sunburn. wrinkles and age spots, however, are caused by UVA rays and require additional protection. and both cause skin cancer. look for “broad spectrum” sunscreen, which protects you from both.

Stay in The Middle

Sunscreens that offer SPF 15 or less can no longer claim to prevent skin cancer or premature skin aging. “try to get an SPF of 30,” Kriegel says. “But if it has only SPF 15 and it’s broad spectrum, that’s fine.” Go above SPF 30 and there’s hardly any difference, except maybe in price. according to the skin cancer foundation, SPF 30 blocks 97% of UVB rays, while SPF 50 adds a mere 1%.

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No Surprises

All sunscreen labels are now required to include a “Drug facts” box listing important information like warnings and ingredients. Some concerns have arisen over the potential absorption of micronized ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. However, a study review from Australia’s Department of health and ageing has determined that these particles don’t penetrate the skin.

Bail on the Booth

The new laws don’t specifically address indoor tanning, but it’s worth mentioning since more than a million Americans hit the tanning salon each day, despite the fact that it increases their risk of developing melanoma by 75%. “the radiation in those booths is carcinogenic,” Kriegel says. “Sometimes it’s even stronger than the sun because of how focused and concentrated it is.

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