Does your suncreen provide enough protection?

Do kids need a different kind of sunscreen?
Posted at 11:54 AM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 14:55:28-04

(KERO) — According to the World Health Organization, our exposure to UV radiation from the sun and artificial sources is increasing.

As the ozone layer gets thinner it absorbs less of the harmful rays. All of this makes skin protection even more important.

David Andrews, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, has spent more than a decade studying sunscreens.

In their latest testing report, they found out of more than 1,800 products only 25-percent provided adequate protection and did not contain concerning chemicals.

Andrews says sunscreens with really high SPF numbers on the label are especially concerning.

According to EWG, "SPF values are also unreliable because the test method companies must use to determine a product’s SPF value is imprecise. It requires someone to determine a change in the skin redness of a small handful of human participants exposed to UV light in a lab. These results may differ based on the evaluator, testing instrumentation or participant skin type. And SPF testing conditions used for labeling significantly overestimate the protection provided in use outdoors."

"Because those products really can provide a false sense of security, where people feel that they can stay in the sun longer and actually change their behavior because they're using a sunscreen product," added Andrews. Those high SPF products don't necessarily provide more protection and many of those products actually don't provide an increased amount of UVA protection."

Another buyer beware from the report is spray sunscreen.

"Applying too thin a layer of sunscreen is one reason a sunscreen may not be effective, and this is especially a problem for aerosols. How thickly an aerosol sunscreen is applied dropped significantly in even a light breeze, according to tests by researchers from Australia’s Griffith University – enough that even application of as much as an entire container could fail to provide adequate sun protection. The Australian government now recommends consumers avoid aerosol sunscreens completely."

There are also concerns that inhaling sunscreen could be harmful.

"Inhalation is yet another problem with aerosol sunscreens, which can be inhaled deep into the lungs, where they can cause irreversible damage.'

Last fall the FDA proposed changes to improve sunscreens. That includes things like limiting the SPF number on labels to 60 and increasing standards for UVA protection.

The proposed sunscreen rule changes wouldn't be finalized until this fall