New FDA Rules for Sun Protection

There are big changes for the $678 million dollar sunscreen industry.

It took more than 30 years but your sunscreen may be getting a new look (on the package at least). The F.D.A. has just unveiled new rules, which go into effect next year on several key points related to sun protection and how manufacturers can market their products. The new rules were under consideration since 1978.

1. Sunscreens must protect both (and equally) against UVB and UVA rays to be called “broad spectrum.” UVB rays cause burning; UVA rays cause wrinkling—and both can cause cancer.

2. Sunscreen manufacturers are also banned from claiming their products are waterproof or sweatproof because the FDA says there is no such thing when it comes to sunscreen. Instead, the manufacturers can claim the amount of time the sunscreen is resistant to water or sweat.

3. Only those sunscreens with a SPF 15 or greater will be allowed to state they help prevent sunburns, skin cancer and early skin aging.

4. The agency proposed only having manufacturers list SPF up to 50, because there is no data that a SPF of higher has any greater protection, but for now that addition to the new rules hasn’t been added.

According to the New York Times: More than two million people in the United States are treated each year for the two most common types of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell, and more than 68,000 receive a diagnosis of melanoma, the most deadly form of the disease. Sunscreens have not been shown to prevent the first case of basal cell carcinoma, but they delay reoccurrences of basal cell and have been shown to prevent squamous cell and melanoma.



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