PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Environmental Working Group research claims that three out of five sunscreens fail to protect your skin from certain ultraviolet rays. But what do local doctors say?

“It is kind of scary, but I guess you don’t really think of it when you are outside taking a walk for a half hour,” said Gina Tudi.

She is hardly alone when it comes to sometimes ignoring skin protection.

“I know a lot of girls look more for the color,” said Kellie Koshute. “My sister specifically loves the tanning oil that isn’t more than a SPF 10 – a shimmery oil that you put on your skin.”

The findings from the Environmental Working Group come after it says the FDA failed to release new sunscreen regulations for four years. Yet, not everyone buys the group’s findings.

“What disturbs me as a dermatologist is that some of the data that they are telling people to stay away from – sunscreens in general or certain ingredients in sunscreens – is somewhat spurious,” said Dr. John Patrick Welsh, a dermatologist at Allegheny General Hospital. “There isn’t a lot of hard scientific data.”

For instance, the study advises consumers avoid products with retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone.

“Products like oxybenzone, that they say alters hormonal levels, we don’t have any hard, definable, scientific data that agrees with that position,” said Dr. Welsh.

Welsh fears the Environmental Working Group study will prompt some people to stop using sunscreen all together.

“We know that skin cancer is on the rise – three-and-a-half million cases per year of skin cancer in the United States – and if we can prevent a few of those by using sunscreens and sun avoidance and use of sun-protective clothing, that’s certainly the goal for all dermatologists,” he said.

Doctors stress that when it comes to sun protection, some is better than none at all.

Environmental Working Group
Allegheny General Hospital
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