Buyer beware of sunscreen

Got sunscreen? Good, then give some to this guy because he needs it. HA! (image credit)

If you're going to the beach this weekend, or if you're just going to be out and about in the sun, you'd better take a second look at your sunscreen. According to a recent report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), only 16 percent of products are "safe and effective." For a list of the best and the worst, check out this article at FoxNews.Com.

Dr. Linda Franks, director of Gramercy Park Dermatology and clinical assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine, recommends everyone wear a moisturizer with SPF for daily protection, but people should not depend on that protection for extended periods of time in the sun. "Either you need to reapply it or use something stronger in the morning," she said.

Neutrogena and Coppertone, both of which had products that landed in the 'avoid' category, stood by the lab results of all their products. Neutrogena would not comment specifically on the report but stated, "all Neutrogena products undergo extensive testing to ensure safety and efficacy."

The report faulted many sunscreens for having active ingredients that actually breakdown in sunlight and do not actually protect against ultraviolet-A. Coppertone issued this statement defending their broad spectrum products: "Coppertone has formulated 100 percent of their products to be photostable to resist breaking down under exposure to the sun."

Now, an article like this could not be complete without the EWG taking a shot at the Food and Drug Administration. The article states that the FDA has been debating sunscreen safety standards for 29 years, but has yet to finalize mandatory standards. What I don't get is this: Sunscreen is neither a food nor a drug, so why is the FDA the regulatory agency managing this?

Finally, the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2007 there will be about 60,000 new cases of skin cancer and about 8000 deaths. So, be careful out there this summer and wear the right sunscreen.