New sunscreen changes coming

Don't get burned by your bottle. The FDA has called for mandatory sunscreen changes to help people better understand what they're buying.

The rules will go into effect in the next few months, but some companies have already made the switch.

Whether you worship it, play in it, or work in it, you should protect your skin from it. Tori Guerrini takes sun safety seriously.

"I had a grandmother who passed away of malignant melanoma," says Tori Guerrini who uses sunscreen.

But, like most others, she's in the dark about big changes coming to sunscreen bottles.

"The changes are actually a very important one,” explains Henry W. Lim, MD, Chairman of Dermatology at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.

Henry Ford Hospital Dermatology Chair, Doctor Henry Lim says sunscreen rules are currently in place for ultraviolet-B, which primarily causes sunburn, but not ultraviolet-A, which can lead to wrinkles and skin cancer.

The upcoming changes mean sunscreens will have to pass a UVA and an SPF protection test to carry this label.

"Right now, there are products out there on the market that say ‘broad spectrum sunscreen,’" says Dr. Lim.

Only sunscreens SPF 15 or higher that pass the test can claim to reduce the risk of early skin aging and skin cancer.

Another big change, sunscreens will no longer be able to claim to be water or sweat proof. Look for brands that are water resistant for 40 or 80 minutes. And remember, keep covering your skin with sunscreen throughout the day.

"It has to be re-applied every two hours if one participates in outdoor activities," explains Dr. Lim.

Also make sure you're using enough. You'll need about an ounce of lotion to cover your entire body every two hours. Helping you stay safe in the sun.

The new rules were slated to go into effect this summer, but were pushed back to December for most manufacturers after they claimed they weren't given enough time to comply.

Doctor Lim recommends people use sunscreens that are SPF 30 to SPF 50. He says beyond that, there is a very small increase in UV protection.

REPORT #1904

WORLDWIDE ORIGINS: In the early 1930's, South Australian chemist Milton Blake experimented to produce a sunburn cream. L'Oreal founder and chemist Eugene Schueller invented the first sunscreen in 1936. Chemist Franz Greiter invented one of the first sunscreens in 1938 called Gletscher Crème (Glacier Cream) with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 2. In 1962, Greiter invented SPF, a standard for measuring the effectiveness of sunscreen when applied at an even rate of 2 milligrams per square centimeter. Florida pharmacist Benjamin Green invented one of the first popular sunscreens in 1944 called Red Vet Pet. Coppertone bought his patent, who sold it as "Coppertone Girl" and "Bain de Soleil" brands in the early 1950s. In 1980, Coppertone developed the first UVA/UVB sunscreen. (Source:

RAY AWARENESS: UVA rays account for up to 95 percent of the UV radiation reaching the Earth's surface. They are less intense than UVB but are 30 to 50 times more prevalent. They are present and equally intense during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass. UVA penetrates skin more deeply than UVB and plays a major part in skin aging and wrinkling. UVA damages skin cells called keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis, where most skin cancers occur. UVA contributes to and may even initiate the development of skin cancers. It is the dominant tanning ray which causes mutations that can lead to skin cancer. Tanning booths primarily emit UVA.

UVB is the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn. It tends to damage the skin's more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer and a contributory role in tanning and photoaging. Its intensity varies by season, location, and time of day. The most significant amount of UVB hits the U.S. between 10 AM - 4 PM from April to October, but UVB rays can burn and damage your skin year-round (especially at high altitudes and on reflective surfaces such as snow or ice, which bounce back up to 80 percent of the rays so that they hit the skin twice). UVB rays do not significantly penetrate glass.

PREVENTING SKIN CANCER: Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM. Do not burn. Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Use broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months. Examine your skin head-to-toe every month. See your physician every year for a professional skin exam. (Source:

For More Information, Contact:
David Olejarz
Media Relations
Henry Ford Hospital
(313) 874 -4094

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