Sunblock and Sunscreen SPF
Sunblock,Sunscreen and the New FDA SPF Labeling
Summer is here and you’re off to the beach! One quick stop to the drugstore to buy your sunscreen and you’re on your way. But you are looking at the sunscreen display and you are agonizing over which brand to buy. I’ve done this myself. There are so many brands and there’s so many different SPF numbers, so many different ingredients, so many different guarantees and promises. Do i use SPF 15 or should I use SPF 50? Whats the difference between waterproof and water resistant? Which one will really protect me against aging and skin cancer? Does it really matter which one I choose?
Beginning this year 2012 the FDA, the US Federal Drug Administration, has made regulations that will make your life simpler and easier in choosing your sunscreen. You will finally be able to make an intelligent (and much quicker) decision when you are choosing your sunscreen.You won’t have to stand in front of that display and look at multiple different sunscreens and still not know which one to buy. What a difficult decision. And talk about wasting time. Its summer time and you know what that beach traffic will be like. Okay you choose one . But you aren’t really sure if its the right one for you or not! But you head for the beach!
Recently if a sunscreen was labeled broad-spectrum it meant that it protected against the suns harmful UV or ultraviolet rays…..but it didn’t specify which rays it protected against. We didn’t know if it protected against UVA rays or UVB rays or both. But as of this year if your sunscreen is labeled broad-spectrum you can be sure it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.The FDA has regulations in place for these sun screens to be tested before being labeled. And wouldn’t we want to be protected against both kinds of ultraviolet rays? Of course we would!! And this year only sunscreens that are label SPF15 or higher and are also labeled broad-spectrum can only claim to prevent premature aging and skin cancers. Other sunscreens will only be allowed to claim that they will protect against sunburn and that they haven’t been proven yet to p2revent skin cancers.
Also some sunscreens boost that they are effective immediately. Its been proven however that most sunscreens should be applied approximately 30 minutes before going outdoors. And many sunscreens also claim to have all day protection when actually they can only provide approximately 2 hours of protection. Here again if they make that claim they must have FDA approval.But we won’t be fooled anymore! As of this year they will be correctly labeled.Under the drug box information it will now be mandatory to include a statement advising that sunscreen must be re-applied every 2 hours in order to assure the necessary UV protection.
And what about all the claims of sunscreens being waterproof or water resistant? Well we haven’t seen a waterproof sunscreen so far. But if anyone can prove one the FDA will be happy to run tests on them for an approval. But for right now most will claim their sunscreens to be water resistant for an approximate amount of time. As of this year the sunscreens will need to have testing done to prove the exact amount of time that the product is water resistant.Sunscreens will either be labeled specifying 40 minutes or 80 minutes of protection. So if your label reads 80 minutes you can be sure it really is effective for 80 minutes!
And in the past so many manufacturers fooled us…I’m sure not intentionally though… of a few other claims. No longer will the manufacturers be allowed at all to use the following words on their packaging….waterproof, sweat proof, all day protection, instant protection or sunblock! No more deceptive marketing! What a concept! The truth!
And what about the SPF numbers? What do all those numbers really mean? Should i get SPF30 or SPF 75? Or will SP15 be just as good? Is it safer to go with the higher numbers? Well as of today the FDA actually is reviewing these numbers and are hoping to make a ruling on them soon. The FDA is trying to prove that once an SPF (sun protective factor) reaches a number of SPF50 there’s no evidence that any higher number actually gives any further protection.They are still gathering data on this and trying to make a ruling before summer.We’ll be watching for this and will post whatever the outcome is as soon as its available. So keep watching here for any updates!! Or you can visit the FDA website below for up to date information.
Read about the New FDA Regulations Here!
So i hope you have an easier time this summer of 2012 in choosing your sunscreen. Hopefully the labels will be very clear and informative. Hopefully you will be able to choose your sunscreen quickly and get to the beach before you hit that wonderful beach traffic! But its to be expected i guess….after all kids are out of school, people are on vacations, its time for volleyball and picnics……a time for lots of sunscreen!!!! Its summertime!!!!