Sunscreen season has arrived and it’s time to stock up. Some of you will notice that the label on your favorite sunscreen looks a little different.
In 2011, FDA released new labeling requirements for sunscreen products and the manufacturers had until this year to comply. FDA wants to educate consumers about the risk of skin cancer from sun exposure, not just the risk of sunburn. The new rules are as follows:
- Skin Cancer v. Sunburn. Manufacturers will be able to label sunscreen products that meet certain UVA and UVB criteria as “Broad Spectrum SPF [value of 15 or higher].” Manufacturers of these Broad Spectrum products can claim that the product reduces the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging — if used as directed with other sun protection measures. Manufacturers of Non-Broad Spectrum sunscreens and Broad Spectrum sunscreens with an SPF value less than 15 can claim only that the product helps prevent sunburn.
- Waterproof or Sweatproof? FDA no longer permits the terms “waterproof,” “sweatproof,” or “sunblock” on any sunscreen product.
- Water Resistance. Manufacturers who wish to claim “water resistance” must say whether the product is effective for 40 minutes or 80 minutes. Sunscreens that are not water resistant must carry instruct consumers to use a water resistant sunscreen if swimming.
- “All-Day Protection.” Manufacturers cannot claim that one application of sunscreen provides sun protection for more than 2 hours.
- “Instant Protection.” Manufacturers cannot claim that a sunscreen provides protection immediately upon application unless it first obtains FDA approval.
- Drug Facts. FDA regulates sunscreen products as drugs so each must carry Drug Facts information on the back panel.
Knowledge is power. Enjoy the pool!