To Your Health
June, 2016 (Vol. 10, Issue 06)
Is Your Sunscreen Protecting You?
By Editorial Staff
If you're going to protect yourself from sun damage, but still spend time in the sun – not secluded all day under a pop-up tent, wide-brimmed hat, etc. – then you're going to be slathering plenty of sunscreen on your entire body. But shouldn't that sunscreen provide the protection (sun protection factor: SPF) from ultraviolet radiation it claims to provide?
According to a report from Consumer Reports, "13 of the 35 sunscreen lotions that were tested had an SPF less than 30, despite all claiming to be at least SPF 30. This included two of the 18 sprays and three of the eight face sunscreens." According to Consumer Reports, these findings mirror previous findings, suggesting many people may have been exposed to considerably more UV radiation than they thought in recent years.
As you might expect, some of the worst offenders – for example, Banana Boat Kids Tear-Free, Sting-Free Lotion and CVS brand Kids Sun Lotion each had a stated SPF of 50, but according to Consumer Reports, offered only SPF 8 protection – were quick to counter the claims - but who should we believe? Probably not the sunscreen companies who make millions from product sales.
For more information from the report, click here. And remember, the best protection against UV exposure is to avoid direct sunlight for more than 10-15 minutes a day (necessary to promote vitamin D production in the body), particularly during the midday hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). And if you absolutely must be in the sun, don't just rely on sunscreen; wear a hat, avoid prolonged sun exposure, and wear protective clothing whenever the temperature allows. Talk to your doctor for more information.