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Protecting yourself in the summer sun

By HILARY LANE

In May 2012, the FDA announced it would give sunscreen manufacturers an additional six months to make label changes, which means consumers could be purchasing mislabeled sunscreen in the upcoming months.

The problem is that many sunscreen products on the shelves currently promise protection. However, according to U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, the products leave beach goers vulnerable to skin cancer.

Here are some tips to keep safe under the sun this summer:

*When purchasing sunscreen, doctors suggest looking for SPF 30 or greater. That will offer protection from 97% of UVB rays which are linked to skin cancer.

*Currently, there is no way to measure the impact of UVA rays, which are related to aging. Doctors suggest looking for a sunscreen that has both UVB and UVA protection.

*Never assume sunscreen is "water-proof or water-resistant," even if it says so on the label.

"Especially if you are in and out of water and you are toweling off, you probably wiped off the product that you just put on and I have seen so many people spray and jump right into the pool and it all comes off if it is still wet," said Anita Amidon, skincare expert. "You have to let it dry."

Also, clothing does not act as a barrier against the sun.

"If you are wearing a white t-shirt, that is an SPF of 3. If you are wearing a navy t-shirt, it is an SPF of 8. So you really need coverage underneath ur clothes," said Amidon.

Amidon suggests applying sunscreen 30 minutes before leaving your house, and every 90 minutes after that. Research shows a family should be going through one bottle of sunscreen each day, which can get a bit pricey.

"Just think of it as an investment in your future health," said Amidon. "It's cheaper to prevent skin cancer than to treat it"

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