“For rheumatoid arthritis patients, it’s primarily the medications that make them more likely to get rashes and burns,” says Dr. Reddy who is also co-director of the New York University Psoriasis & Psoriatic Program. “I advise patients to be careful, use sunscreen and minimize exposure.”

Dr. Gewanter gives patients this advice about wearing sunscreen: “Apply, let it dry, reapply and repeat every 90 minutes.”

The next time you read a sunscreen label, watch for this information:

  • Labels let consumers know that using the proper sunscreen along with other protective measures can not only prevent sunburn, but can cut the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.
  • Sunscreens claiming “broad spectrum” protection must block both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays can cause sunburn, while both UVA and UVB rays can lead to skin cancer.
  • A product with a sun protection factor, or SPF, less than 15 must warn that it hasn’t been shown to prevent skin cancer or early aging.
  • Sunscreens can not claim to be “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” Instead the labels must informs buyers if, in tests, the product was “water resistant” for 40 minutes or 80 minutes.
  • The term “sunblock” is not allowed on labels because the term may lead consumers to believe that sunscreens completely block the sun’s harmful UV radiation, when in fact all sunscreens allow some UV radiation to reach the skin.
  • FDA-approval must be required for products to claim to work longer than two hours or to work immediately – most must be applied 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure.