What's All the Fuss About Sunscreens?
Posted: July 14, 2012
Farmers should be reminded of the sun’s damaging rays in the hottest months of the year, which are usually July and August in our area. Skin cancer cases continue to rise, and farmers can be more at risk since they spend so much time outdoors.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had proposed new labeling for sunscreens with a June 2012 deadline. However, it has delayed the requirements for manufacturers until December 2012 because of a concern over supply and demand at the busiest time of year for sunscreen sales. The FDA monitors the claims and labeling of sunscreens.
Dermatologists have learned a lot more about skin cancer from research in the past decade, and many are now concerned that consumers are being misled when reading sunscreen labels. “No sunscreen blocks 100 percent of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. So calling it sun block provides a false sense of security to consumers,” says Dr. Jamie Davis, a board certified dermatologist with the FDA.
When the new labeling does take effect in December 2012, consumers will need to look for labels that indicate “broad spectrum” and a sun-protection factor (SPF) of 30 plus. Some manufacturers have already met the new guidelines. So consumers will find a mix of old and new labels throughout the summer season.
Consumers should check the new labels carefully and purchase those that provide the most information and the most protection. Be aware that “broad spectrum” products will likely differentiate between UVB (burning) rays protection and UVA (aging) rays protection. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a truthful label will indicate that the product is water- or sweat-resistant, not waterproof or sweat-proof, which can be misleading.
Farmers need to stay vigilant to the sun’s damaging rays to prevent the three types of skin cancer: basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. For more information, visit the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website.
Ways to Protect Yourself in the Sun
- Find and use the newly labeled sunscreens. Use a sunscreen with a sun-protection factor (SPF) of 50.
- Wear sunglasses with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50.
- Use sun-protective clothing. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when it’s not too hot. And wear a wide-brimmed hat.