New sunscreen regulations push for safer beach-goers this year


As the poolside oasis or beach adventure beckons, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spreads awareness of the newest sunscreen guidelines for families nationwide.

Now, products will sport fresh labels noting improved skin protection as well as alert shoppers with warning labels for products that don’t meet the regulation standards for 2013.

“I’m thrilled that they are going to be more clear about it,” said Joseph Stutz, M.D., a dermatologist for the Dermatology Center of Rochester Hills, P.C.

“Every year, no matter how many warnings there are, there’s always a few people that come in and are baked,” said Robert Lytle, pharmacist and owner of Lytle Pharmacy in downtown Rochester. “That can be life-threatening because your skin is the largest organ you have and if it’s damaged, you can become seriously ill.”

IMG_7525Running through the basics of savvy sunscreen shopping

Stock up on broad spectrum, UVA and UVB protection lotions

The latest changes will boast to shoppers that the contents are broad-spectrum sunscreens, defending against both UVB and UVA rays.

Previously shielding only UVB rays, broad-spectrum quality helps prevent skin cancer more effectively, says Stutz, as “the UVA (rays) are more associated with melanoma.”

Grab the skin protector with a water resistance of 40 to 80 minutes.

Another upgrade for those planning to lather up this summer is newer products will no longer be allowed to tout their waterproof or sweat-proof abilities.

Instead, sunscreens will now state they are water-resistant for 40 to 80 minutes, according to a recent press release from the American Academy of Dermatology.

Pick a product with SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or more

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends purchasing a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for best skin defense.

It’s time to reapply

When enjoying your summer adventure, remember to spread sunscreen generously to all exposed skin roughly 15 minutes prior to heading outside and be sure to reapply every two hours.

“Sometimes people think that just because they put a real strong (sunscreen) on in the morning, that it’ll last all day—well it only lasts a couple hours,” Lytle said.

Mildred Parker, of Troy, who was shopping at Kroger this week, shares her thoughts on defending your body against skin cancer.

“Just be careful—it’s not funny business,” she said, as she has lost several relatives to melanoma and her husband has endured surgery to eradicate his skin cancer.

Parker’s favorite tip is to buy products with a minimum of SPF 40 and wear a hat while outdoors.

While these new changes offer up better products for consumers, the latest FDA rules do not ensure that inadequate sunscreens are removed from store shelves, Stutz said.

“Unsafe sunscreens are still out there,” Stutz said. “The consumer has to look for the words broad spectrum protection; that is the key phrase that we’re looking for now.”

And it’s important to remember that sunscreen is not a cure-all, as he calls it—“It is not the only answer.”

Some other ways to enjoy the outdoors this season without the sting of summer can be found in wearing UV-protection clothing.

“I’m a big fan of UV-protection clothing,” he said. “It’s definitely becoming more fashionable—back in the day it was pretty dorky, but these days, more prominent brands are coming out with their own styles and I highly recommend those.”

For more information on purchasing safe sunscreen or UV-protection clothing this year, be sure to visit sources such as the Michigan Department of Community Health at; the American Academy of Dermatology via and the Environmental Working Group through


About Jen Bucciarelli

Veggie lover and aspiring word chef, reporter Jen Bucciarelli covers all things health and medicine for Rochester Media and The Community Edge. She is always on the hunt for local experts who can help improve the lives of our readers. Send her a note at

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