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August 12, 2008

Big Changes for Sunscreen Labels


Anybody want to guess what they are? No, they’re keeping “do not ingest.” That one’s kind of important. Rather, labels are about to get more crowded as the FDA will require more specifics about UVA ray protection (the traditional SPF refers to protection from UVB rays).  Recently proposed legislation is pushing the FDA to implement the rules in 180 days. For an explanation, we checked in with dermatologist Ed Stolar at his Eye St. office.


The new system will require sunscreens to label their UVA protection as Low, Medium, High, or Highest. (No Venti?) Also, waterproof has also been spurned in favor of water resistant. A sample image of the new system can be found here. Ed loves increased awareness but has also noticed a converse problem, an increase in Vitamin D deficiency from lack of direct sun.  As a result, he finds it appropriate for dermatologists to raise the issue of Vitamin D intake. His recommendation: 10-15 minutes at least every three days a week would be a good start.


We don’t make a habit of asking doctors to demonstrate their safety tips (following the colonoscopy incident of ’04) but we were fine with Ed reminding us to wear a hat. That artwork behind him is his own, from weekly classes at the Corcoran. They’re charcoal reproductions of famous works by Pierre Paul Prud’hon and John Singer Sargent. He tells us the classes give him an appreciation of aesthetic values—depth, proportions, forms—that have practical application when he performs cosmetic surgery. Can’t wait to see the patient who follows Ed’s cubism period.

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