The FDA has considered these terms misleading since the 1990s, but they gave manufacturers an extension to December 2012 to show that their products protect against both UVA rays that cause skin cancer and UVB rays that burn skin. Since babies make less melanin than adults do, their skin cells can be damaged after less time in the sun. So this is not a petty issue.
A quarter of sunscreens contain retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that some researchers believe speeds the growth of skin cancers. Many of the popular sunscreens also contain parabens, oxybenzone and PABA.
Many of us attempt to reduce our exposure to chemicals. Yet, phthalates, the chemical added to plastics to increase flexibility and parabens, preservatives that mimics estrogen, are in nearly all skin care products..
Consumers now have to consider UV-protective clothing, shampoos and detergents. The Federal Trade Commission monitors marketing claims about UV-protective clothing. UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) is the standard used and it ranges from 1 to 50 (50 is the highest protection).
What can you do? Visit the Environmental Working Group's 2012 Sunscreen Buyers Guide that includes ratings for 1800