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Protect yourself!

Changes in Sunscreen Regulations

Remember when we used to lay out to get a tan without a thought about skin cancer or premature aging? Well, obviously we have become more educated and aware of the effects of prolonged sun exposure the last few decades. However, the regulations for "sunscreen" and "sunblock" have not really changed in 33 years. That is until this year. The FDA has set up new rules and regulations that affect both testing and labeling of products that offer sun protection. Here is what we've learned.

Products that pass the FDA's tests for UVB and UVA protection will now be able to be labeled as "Broad Spectrum". In European standards the symbol for the same protection is "UVA" inside a small circle. A product that says it reduces the risk of skin cancer and early aging will have a minimum of SPF15 and is "Broad Spectrum". It is also assumed that the user will use the product along with other protection measure such as clothing and shade with a "Broad Spectrum" label.

Manufacturers will no longer be able to use "sunblock, "sweatproof", or "waterproof" on their labels. Instead, products will be labeled "water resistant (40 minutes)" or "extra water resistant (80 minutes)". Manufacturers will also be changing any packaging that says "faceblock" or "waterblock".

The good news for all of us is that the new FDA rules state that all sunscreen products must include standard drug facts information on the back or side of the container. That's a change we can all understand.

Some products, like mineral make-up, do offer sun protection. It is not clear at the moment whether they will be able to label their packages that way anymore or not. There are also several hair-care lines that have sunscreen built in. Again, we're waiting to see whether they continue to put that information on the packaging or not.

In order to get the SPF designated on a package, you are expected to apply a full teaspoon of product to your face, and a shot glass amount to your body. Under-applying defeats the purpose of the SPF, so don't be stingy.

We will keep you updated on what we learn about the new regulations. In the meantime, don't be surprised if there are some package changes on your favorite products.


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