One of the fastest rising cancers is skin cancer.
In most cases it is believed to be the direct result of over-exposure to sunlight.
Consequently, we have been inundated with messages from dermatologists and other health advisors to stay out of the sun, cover up and use a sunscreen.
Yet others have stated that there is no evidence that use of sunscreen reduces the incidence of skin cancer.
Choosing a sunscreen has always been difficult because while there is a good measurement of UVB protection in the SPF numbering system, it provides no information concerning UVA protection. The FDA has yet to declare an official method in the U.S. to measure or label suncare products to show how much UVA protection is provided, leaving many companies to label their products as “broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection”.
In August of 2007 the FDA attempted to rectify this problem by publishing in the Federal Register, 21 CFR parts 347 and 352, Sunscreen Drug Products for Over-the-counter Human Use; Proposed Amendment of Final Monograph; Proposed Rule.
In this publication they provided detailed instructions for both testing and labeling UVA. To
indicate how much UVA protection a product contained 4 stars would be indicated on the label with the number of “filled” stars indicating the amount of protection provided as illustrated below:
By selecting a sunscreen that utilizes this FDA mandated labeling you can be sure that that your product provides the desired level of UVA protection.
Under this rating system the highest suncare protection that you can obtain would be one that has a SPF of 50+ and a UVA rating of 4 Stars.
With any other labeling you cannot be sure what tests stand behind claims of UVA.