FDA Announces New Labeling for Sunscreens
June 14, 2011
by Sasha Emmons
Have you ever wandered the sunscreen aisle, completely confused about what SPF really means, and which rays it protects against? Today the FDA announced that starting next summer all suncreens will have to offer broad spectrum protection against both ultraviolet A and B rays and have an SPF of at least 15, or else carry the warning label: "This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging." Previous rules only addressed UVB rays, and not UVA rays, which can cause skin damage and cancer.
Under the new law, sunscreens can also no longer market themselves as “waterproof,” “sweatproof,” or “sunblock” which the FDA calls “an exaggeration of performance.” Any other special claims will need to be approved by the FDA and supported by data before it can be used on the label. Also, the SPF will be capped at 50+ since the FDA does not think there is sufficient data to support the claim that sunscreens with higher SPFs actually offer more sun protection.