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New Sunscreen Regulations: What it Means for You and Your Family

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New Sunscreen Regulations: What it Means for You and Your Family

The air is cooling and fall is just around the corner.  It’s easy to let your guard down when the temperature starts to drop, but there’s still lots of sun to come before the leaves start to fall.  Some of our area’s best outdoor events are approaching so I thought I would share some some of the latest sunscreen news with you as a friendly reminder to stay protected.

New research and sunscreen testing methods have emerged and the FDA is proposing new sunscreen regulations in order for you to make a more educated decision about protecting your skin.  The new sunscreen regulations will be in effect summer 2012, here’s what you can expect to see.

The Changes: It’s all in the label

Broad Spectrum: Currently, labeling rules require that manufacturers consider only ultraviolet B rays (UVB) as broad spectrum because sunburn is primarily caused by UVB.  However, ultraviolet A rays (UVA) have also been proven to cause sun damage, skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. Next summer, only sunscreens that pass the FDA’s broad spectrum test, which measure a product’s UVA ray protection relative to its UVB ray protection, in addition to SPF 15 or higher, may be labeled as broad spectrum.

Water Resistant: Under new regulations, water resistance claims will need to indicate the amount of time the resistance will remain effective. This will either be labeled as 40 minutes or 80 minutes, based on standard testing.

“Waterproof,” “Sweatproof,” “Sunblock”: Because sunscreen eventually washes off, the FDA has found the terminology used in the claims “waterproof,” “sweatproof,” and “sunblock,” to be an overstatement of their effectiveness. Sunscreens also cannot claim to provide sun protection for more than two hours without reapplication.

If the label changes take place next summer, what does that mean for my skin safety this summer?

Slather on at least SPF 30, then get out and enjoy the Great Balloon Race! Next summer, the labeling will help you make a more informed decision about your skin protection, but as for this summer, the FDA is not questioning the safety of any ingredients used in currently marketed sunscreens. Just remember to reapply every two hours.

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