Hopewell mom says got second-degree burns after using sunscreen

First, recognize that sunscreen should not be your only form of sun protection.

Just as it is important to understand that what type of UV ray you are protecting against, it is also vital to understand what is in the sunscreen you are putting on yourself and your loved ones.

SPF and Sunscreen Ratings: A sunscreen's Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to its ability to shield from the sun's ultraviolet rays.

Still squeezing the last gloopy drops out of last year's sunscreen bottle? Does it give you protection? Yes. The SPF number is the level of protection sunscreen provides against UVB rays.

"Studies have shown that most consumers use. less than one-half the amount of sunscreen the FDA mandates", he said.

"People are still confused about sunscreen and how it works and what the drawbacks may be", Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at EWG said in the report, which rates nearly 1500 products based on their ingredients.

SPF values are determined by applying a thick layer of sunscreen to the skin, and assessing the severity of the burn that develops after masochistic volunteers are exposed to lights of varying intensity in a lab. Thought to be beneficial, they are actually misleading, says Lunder.

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The Skin Cancer Foundation says 5.4 million cases are diagnosed annually. They then rated the sunscreens on a scale from poor to very good depending on the percentage of SPF it came within the promised coverage. "Skin cancers get a foothold when this damage affects the DNA of genes that control skin cell growth", says Dr. Kirkpatrick.

For young children, Zeichner recommends skipping chemical sunscreen altogether in favor of mineral-based sunscreens made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The risk of melanoma and other skin cancers increases with each tan, especially tanning booths. Two ingredients, in particular, oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, consumers should avoid. Regulations in Europe, Lunder says, mandate a more even balance between UVA and UVB protection, so while the SPF numbers may be lower across the pond, the "broad spectrum" claims are more valid.

In order to for a product to be marketed as "broad spectrum" the FDA requires sunscreens to protect equally against UVB rays, which cause aging, and UV rays, which cause cancer.

In a now-viral Facebook post uploaded earlier this month, Rebecca Cannon said she purchased Banana Boat Kids SPF50 protect baby Kyla from the sun, only to be horrified by what happened next.

So how might beachgoers, preparing to shake off the drab, rainy cloak of spring, navigate the sunscreen aisle before heading to the shore?

Wear a hat with a wide brim.

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