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02-18-11 | Posted by

It’s never too early in the year to talk about sunscreen in my book. With spring break just around the corner and snow bunnies hitting sunny slopes, it’s a perfect time to discuss some of the findings of  last month’s Sunscreen Symposium sponsored by The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Did you know that there are 17 approved UV filters, the active protective ingredient in sunscreen? So how’s a gal to choose? Enter, the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. Currently, there are more than 400 products that carry the Seal, including items from many favorite brands like Banana Boat, Clarins, Clinique, Lancome, L’Oreal, Olay, Shiseido and more.

Until now products that are designed for daily use, such as moisturizers and eye creams, and products for extended sun exposure all receive the same Seal. But soon you will be seeing two separate Seals of Recommendation – one called “Daily Use” and another called “Active.” Each of these Seals will have different requirements such as minimum SPF and proof of photostability.

“Our goal, now more than ever, is for the Seal to help consumers easily identify safe and effective sunscreens amid varying claims and labeling practices,” stated Perry Robins, MD, president of The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Ironically, when sunscreen was first introduced back in middle of the last century, it was created to promote tanning, not to prevent skin cancer or photo aging. But now we know the importance of protecting our skin from both UVA and UVB rays – the new Seal requirement includes verification of the sunscreen’s UVA protection in addition to the existing UVB requirement.

That said, there is another caveat to ensure you get the protection you need from your sunscreen – the amount applied. According to Dr. Steven Wang, a presenter at the symposium, we need to apply one whole ounce of sunscreen over the entire body for adequate protection. Most people only use one-half or one-quarter as must as they should, which results in significantly reduced protection.

So, when the snow finally clears or you’re lucky enough to be taking a Caribbean vacation, be sure to choose a sunscreen bearing The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation and slather up.

After all, summer is just around the corner.

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