Don't get burned: Sunscreen labeling laws get tougher in battle against skin cancer

Lance Cpl. Iris Santana sprays on sunscreen before going to work at Camp Lejeune, N.C. (Cpl. Jo Jones/Marine Corps)

Somewhere in my family tree are a lot of Irish and English ancestors who have given me the gift of pale, pale skin. After giving myself several horrible sun burns I now slather on sunscreen before long runs like it’s going out of style.

To further prove my love of sunscreen, I took not one, but two tubes of SPF 100 with me when I covered the Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley, Calif., last July. I know the 100 rating probably wasn’t any stronger than the SPF 30 next to it on the shelf, but that extra digit made me feel more protected.

I keep a tube in my car, some in my bag, probably some in my desk and several at home.

And I don’t even work outside like a lot of our service members.

This week in OFFduty, health writer Patricia Kime writes about why you should love sunscreen too.

She writes:

Given the amount of time active-duty troops spend outdoors, it’s little wonder that melanoma is the second-most diagnosed cancer among them.

But an active lifestyle doesn’t necessarily sentence service members to a future of skin cancer. Sunscreen can prevent all types of skin cancer, including melanoma, which is considered the most dangerous.

This summer marks the first year U.S. sunscreen manufacturers are following new Food and Drug Administration guidelines for labeling their products. The hope is that the new details, along with improved testing and regulation, will better protect consumers’ hides

“This new information will help consumers know which products offer the best protection from the harmful rays of the sun. It is important for consumers to read the entire label, both front and back, in order to choose the appropriate sunscreen for their needs,” said Lydia Velazquez with the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Regulation Development.

Read the rest of Patricia’s story — plus get tips on when to toss your old sunscreen — over on OFFduty.

Sara Davidson

Sara Davidson is an ultrarunner and contributor to PT365. She's run 7 marathons and 32 ultramarathons -- including her first 100-miler. This fall she is training for the Marine Corps Marathon using our PT365 Run Plan. Reach her at sdavidson@gannett.com .

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