Monday, July 25, 2011

Sun is Setting on Overzealous Sun Screen Claims

I was recently at Pilates listening to two women discuss the 100 SPF sunscreen they were using at the pool. If I hadn't been in such excruciating pain I would have told them it didn't matter. The FDA just came out with new guidelines to take effect next year that will prevent any company from saying that their product is "sweat proof" or "water proof" and the highest SPF they'll be allowed to put on a bottle or can is 50+. Read the new regulations here:

Questions and Answers: FDA announces new requirements for over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreen products marketed in the U.S.

Now I'll be honest, while the FDA and doctors are concerned about skin cancer, my main objective in all this is to protect my skin from premature aging. I always cringe when I see young women with sunburned faces. I can't help going all maternal on them and saying "You should be wearing sunscreen every day!"

They look at me as if I have two heads. If I did, they'd both have on sunscreen. The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is apropos here. It's so much easier to prevent sun damage which is the main cause of wrinkles, than to try to reverse the damage with expensive treatments and procedures.  For those of us who cannot imagine anything happening to our faces that involves a scalpel and staples (I once sat next to a recent face lift recipient at dinner and the sight of the side of her face took my appetite), we are willing to go to great lengths to avoid it.

Choose a hat you really like and will wear a lot for added protection and a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Make sure the ones you are purchasing have a sticker that indicate that the level of UV protection.  On winter days the reflection of rays from the snow can also be hard on your eyes so don't put them away in the fall.

I always recommend wearing sunscreen every day. It can be January and raining buckets and part of my morning routine still includes some sun protection, though of course you can decrease it in those cold gray months. The end of summer is just around the corner and with the new regulations taking effect soon stores should be slashing prices so it's a good time to stock up. The shelf life of sunscreen is generally 2 1/2 to three years but if it smells "off" or if it has separated, throw it out. They do break down over time and can be contaminated with bacteria. Use your common sense. Also experts say we all only use about half the amount of sunscreen we need to be optimally protected so slather it on!

None of this talk about sunscreen regulations, skin cancer, and wrinkles is very fun. But visiting the website Pale is the New Tan is.  Hop on over there so you can have a really good laugh. You may want to print one of those pics and tape it to your bottle of sunscreen as a not so subtle comical reminder. Here's a preview:

There's plenty more where that came from. Enjoy! :) Here's the link:

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