You’re Not Allowed to Have the Best Sunscreens in the World

by on July 6, 2022 · 0 comments

in Environment, Health, Ocean Beach

Newer, better UV-blocking agents have been in use in other countries for years. Why can’t we have them here?

By Amanda Mull / The Atlantic / July 2022

At 36, I am just old enough to remember when sunscreen wasn’t a big deal. My mom, despite being among the palest people alive, does not remember bringing it on our earliest vacations, or hearing any mention of sun protection by our pediatrician.

The first memories I have of sunscreen are from the day camp that my brother and I attended in the 1990s, where we spent every day on a playground in the direct Georgia sun but were prompted to slather it on only once every two weeks, when we were bused to a community pool. On those days, mom dropped an ancient bottle of Coppertone, expiration date unknown, into my backpack, where I usually left it. In 2000, I started high school, just in time for the golden age of the tanning bed.

The preponderance of babies in rashguards and bucket hats that you now see at the beach shows how much has changed, and how quickly. Skyrocketing skin-cancer rates, specifically for fair-skinned people, among whom the disease is more prevalent, have scared plenty of people into rethinking their tans, as has the realization that sun exposure causes—horror of horrors—wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. Now SPF is ubiquitous.

You can find it in lotions, sprays, gels, oils, powders, and implements that look like grade-school glue sticks, as well as infused into skin-care products, lip balms, makeup, and clothing. Sun care has its own aisle at big-box stores, and beauty companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been built from the ground up by offering only products that block ultraviolet rays.

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