The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today its new guidelines for sunscreens. The guidelines, which won’t be final until 2012, include:
- “Broad spectrum” sunscreens must protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Only broad spectrum sunscreens with an SPF value of 15 or higher can claim to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. Anything lower can only claim to help prevent sunburn.
- The SPF in a non broad spectrum product refers only to the protection factor against UVB rays.
- Sunscreens are now known as water resistant. “Waterproof” and “sweat proof” sunscreens do not exist.
- Water resistant claims on the label must indicate whether the sunscreen remains effective for 40 or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. If the product is not water resistant, the label must provide consumers with a statement instructing them to use water resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating.
- Sunscreens cannot claim to provide protection for more than two hours without reapplication unless the manufacturer submits data to the FDA supporting the claim.
- The maximum SPF value on a label is “50+”. Research hasn’t concluded sunscreens over 50 provide additional protection as products labeled 50.
Visit www.fda.gov for more information on the new guidelines.
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