Which one of these sunscreens would be considered safe and correctly labeled by the Food and Drug Administration?
Everyone, including the Food & Drug Administration, agrees that sunscreen shopping is confusing and misleading. But that won't change in time for this summer's sunburns.
While the FDA has established new regulations, the sunscreen industry has been given until December to change labels and remove false claims. In the meantime, consumers have to educate themselves. Some major things to consider: a product that helps prevent sunburn may not reduce the risk of cancer or early skin aging. New labels will have to make that clear. Also, they can't claim to be "waterproof" or "sweatproof."
One consumer group that tries to explain the known efficacy of lotions and sprays is the Environmental Working Group. They go further to say there's no consensus that sunscreens prevent skin cancer. And they point out some sunscreen ingredients may be carcinogenic to boot. Even the FDA admits it has taken decades to get good science on sunscreen.
So who do you trust? How closely do you read labels? What should you shop for? Why aren't there more effective sunscreens on store shelves? Why hasn't the FDA approved some sunscreen products that are available in Europe already?
Nneka Leiba, Senior Analyst, Environmental Working Group; Leiba has worked on the EWG Sunscreen database for several years
Janellen Smith, Professor of Dermatology, UC Irvine
More Info: FDA Sheds Light on Sunscreens