Does Your Sunscreen Really Protect You? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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Does Your Sunscreen Really Protect You?

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Putting on sunscreen is a message that's become louder over the years, but something's still not working.

More than 1.8 million Americans get skin cancer each year and 50,000 are diagnosed with melanoma.

Local oncologist Dr. Jack Tidwell says the news gets worse.

"The treatment ah is not keeping up by the way, with the occurance of melanomas so we're left with the best choice and that is to prevent," says Dr. Tidwell.

And most would say that starts with sunscreen.

But one study reveals not all of these products are created equal.

According to the Environmental Working Group's study, more than 80% of sunscreens tested offer inadequate protection from the sun's rays.

The group ranked the effectiveness of sunscreens based on chemical safety, effectiveness at protecting against sunburn, and preventing damage caused by uv rays.

But, there are now more broad spectrum sunscreens available and some with a new ingredient called mexoryl.

"We know that it gives us more broad spectrum coverage, it covers more UVA rays," says Columbus Clinic Dermatologist Tammy McLean, M.D.

Dr. Mclean also says protection shouldn't stop there.

"Sit in the shade, avoid the peak hours 10-4, wear your sunglasses, wear your hat and cover up, then put your sunscreen on in addition to that."

To find out what you're getting out of your sunscreen, look closely at the label on the back.

Look for ingredients like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or parsol.

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