New FDA sunscreen guidelines

| Emily Delzell

Protecting your skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage is important year-round, not just during the long days of summer. “A sunburn can worsen psoriasis, so be sure to wear your sunblock,” says Meghan Feely, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist practicing in New Jersey and New York City who serves as a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai’s department of dermatology. 

Swayed by ongoing concerns about the safety of chemical ingredients, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early 2019 proposed major changes in sunscreen regulations. Currently, the FDA reports that only two sunscreen ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are “generally recognized as safe and effective.” 

Mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide don’t penetrate the skin to reach living tissue. These mineral ingredients also provide broad-spectrum protection, meaning they block both UVA and UVB light. 

“These ingredients are also less likely to irritate the skin in a patient with psoriasis,” Feely says. 

Chemical sunscreen ingredients, on the other hand, can be absorbed by the body, producing hormone-like effects that can leach into breast milk.

5 hot sunscreen tips

1. Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide sunblock with an SPF of 30 or greater. 

2. Skip products that contain fragrances, parabens (a type of preservative used in cosmetics and medications), insect repellents or other ingredients that can irritate the skin. 

3. Apply generously to all exposed skin at least 15 minutes before going outdoors. 

4. Reapply every two hours or after sweating, swimming or bathing. 

5. Wear clothing and hats that provide an extra layer of protection from harmful UV rays.

Get ready for summertime fun

Wondering how those outdoor activities will affect your psoriatic disease? Contact a patient navigator today for personalized assistance. 


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For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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