Posted by Deborah Pujoue on June 1, 2012
It’s the time of year that inevitably brings us all out of hiding after a long winter. Summer is the season that forces us all to think harder about the sunscreen we use while romping on the beach and bringing our little ones to the park. The FDA recently upgraded the sunscreen regulations after decades of waiting, which should help us make better decisions about which sunblock is best for use in various situations.
For those vigilant moms and dads that aren’t in the know, the FDA will now force sunscreen manufacturers to test their products to see how effective they will be against fighting skin cancer (not just sunburns). Manufacturers will also be forced to better describe how well the product blocks against UVB rays — you know, in a way that we can actually understand. Under these new regulations, sunscreens that don’t protect against both UVB rays and the sun in general (example marked as lower than SPF 15) will include a warning that reads: “This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”
“The FDA has evaluated the data and developed testing and labeling requirements for sunscreen products, so that manufacturers can modernize their product information and consumers can be well-informed on which products offer the greatest benefit,” said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in a press release. “These changes to sunscreen labels are an important part of helping consumers have the information they need so they can choose the right sun protection for themselves and their families.”
The FDA is even getting rid of manufacturer claims that state that a sunscreen is waterproof or sweatproof since that has been deemed as a lie about how well the product performs. (Hmmm… good to know. I actually believed that.)
So what does this really mean for the sun-loving family? Basically, you will want to look for sunscreens that are listed as “Broad Spectrum” because it protects you against both UVA and UVB rays. That is much simpler than trying to wade through all of the products on the shelves.