Sunscreen Labels Will Change By Summer 2012

Posted on June 20, 2011


To help people understand which sunscreens provide the best protection against sunburn and skin damage, the FDA has changed its sunscreen standards. The Environmental Working Group and the Consumers Union have both pressured the FDA to update its rules on sunscreens. In 2012 these new standards will inform people which sunscreen protects against sunburn, prevents premature skin ageing, and reduces the risk of skin cancer.

Right now, sunscreen companies are only obliged to report on how their products protect against UVB rays, leaving out UVA rays. Both types of rays have proven to be harmful, UVB rays are linked to sunburns while UVA rays are linked to cancer. Now sunscreens will use a “broad spectrum” measure, that tests for the protection of both UVB and UVA rays.

Misleading labels such as “waterproof” or “sweatproof” will also be banned. The new rules state that the labeling must list the amount of time the sunscreen will provide skin protection while sweating and swimming.

Presently more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually. According to statistics, 1 in 5 Americans will get skin cancer during some point in their lives. Be aware that melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the most common form of skin cancer for people in their 20s.

The sun is great, but can be dangerous without adequate protection: sunscreen. SPF higher than 30 should be used every 2 hours. Also remember to wear hats, sunglasses, and clothing. For any additional questions, or information please contact us at the Mayors Health Line at 617-534-5050.

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