Your Sunscreen Label’s New Look

Have you heard that your sunscreen bottle is going to look a lot different in about a year? Regulations will be placed on those companies that make sunscreen products that will dramatically change what your favorite brand can advertise, and what new claims it can make.

The importance of sun protection is finally becoming mainstream, and using “suntan lotion” or tanning oil is now the exception, not the rule. Most of us now prefer sunscreen with a higher SPF that promises better protection. (Remember SPF 2 or 4? I definitely owned those in high school!). With the new rules, a sunscreen must protect against the most dangerous part of the light spectrum to call itself “broad spectrum.” This is very important for skin cancer prevention, as well as skin aging.

There are some promises that sunscreen products will no longer be able to make. Gone will be “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” Instead, you will see “water resistant” with a time limit (40 or 80 minutes). This provides a truer sense of what the product can provide. Sunblock┬áis a misnomer, and will also be taken off the shelves. No cream or lotion product will be able to claim it provides a true “block” of the sun.

While there are many new restrictions, some new claims will be allowed. Given what we know about the dangers of the sun’s rays and the impact on skin aging and skin cancer, companies can add a line indicating the anti-aging and cancer protective properties of their product. This will only be permitted for broad spectrum products that have SPF 15 or higher. Keep in mind, dermatologists want you to use SPF 30 or more.

One important caveat; sprays, powders (remember my product post last week?) and towelettes will not be held to these same standards, but probably will be someday. Keep that in mind when reading the labels of these products.

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