12 On Your Side: Changes coming to sunscreen labels

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Your sun sunscreen is getting a makeover, which will hopefully help you protect your skin.

Sunscreen products will soon need to pass a test to be labeled as "broad spectrum," meaning they offer proportional protection from both cancer-causing UVA and UVB rays. Right now, SPF ratings solely focus on UVB protection.

Most of the new sunscreen labels will hit shelves later this year. The FDA originally wanted change this June but recently extended the deadline to December. Smaller sunscreen companies will have an even more generous deadline of 2013.

Doctors say both UVA and UVB rays are very harmful.

"There are two wavelengths of light that contribute to sun damage. One is ultra violet B wavelength and the other is ultraviolet A wavelengths of light," said Dr. Avis Yount of Augusta Dermatology Associates.

Yount says the new "broad spectrum" rating will be at least rated at SPF 15, although she recommends using SPF 30.

"Studies have shown the higher the number, probably the better the work against sunburn," she said.

Consumers will also notice the new labels will not read "waterproof" or sweat proof," since neither offers 100 percent protection while in the water. The new labels will read "water resistant."

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