The new U.S. FDA guidelines for rating and labeling sunscreens

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United Stated. One should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The SPF rating system only applies to the protection the sunscreen has against UVB and will still be used. Here are the changes in labeling:

  • The highest SPF rating will now be 50+. You will not see any sunscreens with a rating of 70 or higher.
  • Only products with an SPF of 15 or higher will be able to claim that they protect against sunburn, skin cancer, and photo-aging.
  • Manufacturers can no longer claim that their product is waterproof or sweat-proof. Products can labeled water-resistant.

Recommendations:

  • Apply sunscreen liberally–do not use too little.
  • Reapply sunscreen often–at least every few hours and immediately after swimming.
  • Try to use water-resistant sunscreens that work for 40 or 80 minutes (under the new labeling system)
  • Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are two active ingredients that work well against all of the suns rays.
  • Use a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or greater.
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