We loan $1 billion to sunscreen each year, but does it loan us protection?
Sunscreen sales are nearly $1 billion each year, according a new post on The New York Times’ Well blog. But with the sun finally shining in the eastern United States, the article points out that our skin may not be as well protected as we think.
“Some experts blame inappropriate use of sunscreen, saying that people do not apply enough lotion (a golfball-size dollop) or do not reapply it every two hours as instructed. But thereâ€™s another major concern: Until recently, many sunscreens with a high sun protection factor, or SPF, were designed primarily to protect people from ultraviolet B rays, the main cause ofsunburn. These sunscreens may have enabled users to stay out longer but did not necessarily protect them from ultraviolet A rays. These are associated with aging and skin damage, but some experts believe they may also be implicated in skin cancer.”
The article goes on to detail the debate surrounding sunscreen, looking at what the Food and Drug Administration is doing to protect consumers, the critics of other organizations and what you can do to protect yourself. Well’s advice includes, “avoid sunscreen sprays” and “Look for products with an SPF of 15 to 50, and that are labeled â€œbroad spectrum protection,â€ meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Higher SPF values are misleading.”