Fear the Burn

Why U.S. sunscreens are overshadowed

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A young girl looking at sunburn lines from a bathing suit.

Not all sunscreens are created equal. That's the message being pushed by the Food and Drug Administration, which this summer will start requiring makers to say whether their products protect against both ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B rays. UVA rays are always present, even on cloudy days, and cause skin aging. UVB rays are largely responsible for burns. Both can cause cancer.

What the labels won't tell you is that while U.S. sunscreens are safe to use, they're not as protective as they could be. Eight applications for cutting-edge ingredients--like bisoctrizole, which reflects and scatters UV rays--have been pending with the FDA for...

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