U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) has been successful in his efforts to require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to strengthen labeling and testing standards for sunscreen products. The FDA will now implement a standardized labeling system that will better inform consumers of the protection a product offers against the sun’s harmful rays.
Senator Reed and I have held two previous press conferences on this issue in our effort to highlight the importance of sunscreen and sunscreen labeling. As a plastic surgeon, I see so much sun-related damage and I feel it’s important to employ clear and effective strategies aimed at reducing the risk of sun-related skin cancers. The new legislation will help achieve this goal by requiring products to explicitly state on their label whether or not their sunscreen product decreases the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun. Sunscreen products not meeting the comprehensive standards for both UVA and UVB testing will have to warn consumers of their products’ limits.
Until the new legislation is rolled out next summer, however, it’s important to choose a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Also, remember to reapply every hour when out in the sun and to wear sun-protective clothing. (Large hats can be particularly beneficial.)
Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer. The right sunscreen product, when combined with other measures (e.g., protective clothing), can reduce the risk of both skin cancer and early skin aging. It can also help prevent the many other problems people encounter when they develop skin cancer.
For more information about sunscreen and the new regulations, visit http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm258416.htm#.Tfe5wWBd7nc;email
(2009 press conference)