Smart Woman: Sunscreen Myths

Published 05/22 2014 04:44PM

Updated 05/22 2014 06:25PM

Here it comes, beach and suntanning season. Although doctors say you should use it year round, it's also sunscreen season.

What's the best sunscreen to use, should you spray it on or smear it, and how much SPF do you need?

Dr. Bruce Katz helps set the record straight by debunking some sunscreen myths for today's Smart Woman Report.

The first belief is the FDA test sunscreens before they're sold.

"The FDA doesn't test sunscreen at all," says Dr. Katz "It depends on what the manufacturer claims and that's basically it."

Then what about those SPF numbers?

"As long as you have an SPF of 30, you're fine. You're protected very well, anything higher than that is purely marketing."

How about natural sunscreens? Turns out the term natural isn't regulated by the FDA and it's basically meaningless on a sunscreen label.

What about spray on sunscreens providing better coverage?

"Spray sunscreens are fine as long as you don't inhale them and also after you apply them, you spread them around, so they're evenly distributed."

The biggest recent myth is a new product being touted as "drinkable" sunscreen, something about making water molecules in the skin vibrate to block UV rays.

"Drinkable sunscreens are really nonsense. There are all sorts of marketing schemes to sell sunscreen. This by far is the wildest"

The most important thing to remember about sunscreen is to use it early, often, and liberally. Make sure to put in on 20 minutes before going out in the sun, and to re-apply every couple of hours or sooner if you're sweating or swimming.

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