Approximately one third of sunscreens provide less than half of the SPF claimed

Medscape (5/19, Doheny) reported, “About a third of sunscreens tested by experts…provide less than half the SPF protection claimed on the label,” according to Consumer Reports’ annual sunscreen report. According to the article, the Food and Drug Administration does not routinely test sunscreen products’ SPF.

Dr. Bader recommends sunscreens that have a high concentration of zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient(s). These are physical blockers, that reflect all of the suns rays (UVB and UVA).

Chemical blockers only work for specific wavelengths and break down, often within a few hours of sun exposure.

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Skin Cancer is on the rise!

According to a  study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, squamous cell carcinoma rates have increased 263% between 2000 and 2010, while basal cell carcinoma increased 145% over the same time period. 

 

Although the reasons for this increase is not yet studied, increased sun exposure and increased tanning bed use are likely contributing factors. Avoidance of midday sun, wearing sun-protective clothing, and the regular use of sunscreen all help to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.

Those in the shade should still use sunscreen.

A recent study proved that those who applied SPF100 were less prone to sunburn than those who were in the shade. It is no surprise that sunscreen protects better than shade, as REFLECTION of the Sun’s rays cause sun damage.

What is more interesting, and already known by Dermatologists, is that even those who repeatedly applied SPF100 were still prone to getting sunburn.

Avoiding midday sun, applying a good sunscreen of SPF30 or greater, wearing sun-protective clothing, and being under shade should all be utilized whenever possible.

Daily use of sunscreen reduces fine lines

In a recent study, the daily use of a stable sunscreen reduced fine lines in the women studied. I always tell patients that come in for consultation regarding wrinkles that the first step is to protect oneself from the sun. I recommend using sunscreens with SPF 30 or greater that contains high amounts of zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. The ingredients block ALL of the Sun’s rays and are very stable.

Sunscreens: Can you trust the label?

The simple answer is NO–at least when it comes to water-resistance.

In a recent study conducted by Consumer Reports, 43% of the 65 water-resistant sunscreens that were tested FAILED to meet their SPF claim on their labels after the area was submerged in water as indicated on the label for water resistance. Some of them,  missed their mark dramatically.

RECOMMENDATION: As always, it is recommended that one re-apply sunscreen after toweling off, sweating, or swimming.

 

AVO. A New drinkable sunscreen: Really?

A 34-year old Dermatologist has come up with a drink, called AVO, containing over 30 vitamins and anti-oxidants that reduces one’s risk for sunburn. Will this replace traditional sunscreen? Can we just take a drink and go out in the sun?

Not so fast! Although clinical studies show that one does burn less, it appears that this drinkable product is less effective than an SPF 2 sunscreen  in respect to burning. No, that is not a typo. TWO. Of course, long term studies are needed to see if the reduced risk of burning actually reduces the risk of skin cancer.

So, don’t throw away your sunscreen yet. For now, AVO might be a great adjunct to use in addition to sunscreen, as is topical Vitamin C, but it should in no way replace one’s sunscreen.