New Sunscreen Label Regulations Helping to Protect Your Skin
Anthony Sanzeri, NBC Right Now Website Manager - email
Summer is the season for fun in the sun, but you want to make sure you use sunscreen.
The question is how do you know what kind and what spf are right for you?
"The color of a lobster and I have never felt such agonizing pain."
That's how 26-year-old Patrick Warner Flynn describes his worst sunburn, the result of falling asleep while at the beach.
"Ever since then, I realized that I have to protect myself because I have such fair skin and I don't want to experience that sort of pain ever again." says Patrick Warner Flynn
Federal regulators hope to make it a little easier for people like Flynn to protect themselves this year with new sunscreen labels.
Dermatologist Dr. Maral Skelsey says one of the biggest changes include getting rid of the term water proof.
"They can only be labeled water resistant and they have to be designated either 80 minutes or 40 minutes. No sunscreen can say that it lasts all day."
Other changes include making sure the label specifies if it's broad spectrum, meaning the sunscreen protects against both uva and uvb rays.
But Skelsey says don't be fooled by high spf numbers like 100, after 50 they don't provide significantly more protection.
"Those designations are probably going away in a couple of years. They're probably not going to be allowed to say 100 anymore."
And be careful with sunscreen sprays.
"The problem with the sprays is that they're not necessarily applied as well as the creams so some parts of the skin may not be as well covered and also we're concerned about how much is being breathed in so the inhalation of the aerosol in the spray." says Dr. Maral Skelsey, dermatologist.
Skelsey says another issue is that people don't use sunscreen properly. It needs to be applied at least 15 minutes before you go outside so that it's absorbed in the skin. It also needs to be reapplied at least every two hours.
Patrick Warner Flynn says he is now more vigilant when it comes to sun protection. Applying his sunscreen every morning whether he's going to be in the sun or not.
And while, he is hoping less sun means less wrinkles, he's also trying to avoid skin cancer.
"Your appearance is one thing, but if you don't have your health, you have nothing." says Patrick Warner Flynn.