FDA makes new sunscreen rules

POSTED: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 5:10pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

WACO -- As people are heading to the pools to get in on the summer fun, for doctors like Tom Harris at Texas Oncology, that means preventing sunburn.

The Food and Drug Administration has sorted out new sunscreen rules. Now doctors will be able to tell patients which sunscreens really protect users.

Dr. Harris says a simple sunburn isn't exactly harmless.

"Patients that are children and in patients that are in their teens and 20s, those sunburns affect you later in life for your risk of Melanoma."

But with so many sunscreen choices, deciding which is best can get confusing.

 Doctors say anytime you're outside you have to have sunscreen. Now the FDA confirms you need at least SPF 30 to get the best protection. They also say there is no such thing as waterproof and sweat proof, and sunscreen companies will soon have to make products protect against UVA and UVB rays. Both the sun rays can cause cancer.

Fox 44 spoke with Nathan Swift, a lifeguard. Swift says since becoming a lifeguard this year, he realizes just how powerful the sun can be.

''I've never been worried about the sun, and this job showed me that there's definitely precautions that need to be taken," says Swift.

However, doctors say it's getting people to apply and re-apply that's the difficult part. Sometimes Swift applies just once a day.

Dr. Harris says if you are going to have long term sun exposure, early detection of cancer is key.

"Doing frequent self skin checks are very important. [People need] to be looking for changes in their skin."

Dr. Harris says there are new drugs out there to battle Melanoma, but the FDA hopes new rules will diminish the numbers of skin cancer.


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