Nature Medicine | Spoonful of Medicine

Screening sunscreens

A watchdop group has called on the US Food and Drug Administration to shed some light on sunscreens. The government agency has failed to finalize standards for testing and labeling sunscreens, says a report by the Washington, DC-based nonprofit Environmental Working Group. The report also concludes that 85% of sunscreens on the market either contain potentially toxic ingredients or fail to provide enough protection from both UVB and UVA radiation. Most products shield the skin from UVB rays, which cause sunburn as well as DNA damage associated with skin cancer.

A study published yesterday in the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), provides details to support the idea that UVB rays are more likely to cause cancer. However, research published in May suggests that the deeper-penetrating UVA rays that cause skin aging also suppress the immune system, compromising the body’s ability to protect itself against the development and spread of skin cancer.

The FDA is currently considering sunscreen labeling changes to help consumers make better choices, but in the meantime, the American Academy of Dermatology offers this advice: Use broad spectrum sunscreen products of SPF 15 that protect against UVA and UVB rays. Lather it on everyday and wear protective clothing.

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Image by Daquella manera

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