New sunscreen labels: What you need to know

Published on May 21, 2013

New labeling rules from the Food and Drug Administration are designed to help consumers make smarter decisions when it comes to purchasing sunscreen. The new guidelines apply to any products that carry an SPF (sun protection factor), including makeup, moisturizer or lip balm. A USA Today article outlines these labeling changes that will help you choose products that best protect you and your family from sunburn and skin cancer risk. Some of the new label rules include:

  1. Products with SPFs below 15 must carry warnings that they only protect against sunburn and not skin aging or skin cancer.
  2. Broad spectrum protection (those that block against damaging UVA and UVB rays) claims on sunscreens are now backed by testing.
  3. The FDA now prohibits the labeling of sunscreen as “waterproof” or “sweat-proof”. Products can only say water-resistant and must indicate how often it should be reapplied if swimming or sweating.
  4. Products must include additional measures for sun protection. Sunscreen will now carry labels stating they can lower one’s risk of skin cancer in combination with limiting time in the sun, wearing protective clothing and avoiding the sun during midday.

Overall, consumers should look for a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.

Read the full USA Today article.

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