Say it ain’t so! The Gaga is bald? Probably just a skin cap. But just in case its not, here’s what she — and the rest of us — need to know about the new sunscreen labels.
New label rules are coming to sunscreen products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced new labeling rules designed to help consumers more easily find products that reduce the risk of skin cancer and help prevent sunburn.
Under the new labeling, sunscreens labeled as both Broad Spectrum and SPF 15 (or higher) in combination with other sun protection measures will help prevent sunburn, reduce the risk of skin cancer, and reduce the risk of early skin aging.
Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said, “these changes to sunscreen labels are an important part of helping consumers have the information they need so they can choose the right sun protection for themselves and their families.”
Products that have SPF values between 2 and 14 may be labeled as Broad Spectrum if they pass the required test, but only products that are labeled both as Broad Spectrum with SPF values of 15 or higher may state that they reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging, when used as directed.
Any product that is not Broad Spectrum, or that is Broad Spectrum but has an SPF between 2 to 14, will be required to have a warning stating that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging.
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“Most skin cancers are caused by sun exposure. FDA encourages consumers to protect themselves,” Woodcock added. “Not only should consumers regularly apply and reapply sunscreens with Broad Spectrum and SPF of 15 or higher, they should also limit sun exposure.”
This video outlines the new steps FDA is taking to protect consumers from sun damage to the skin.
The new regulations will become effective for most manufacturers in one year.
In addition to using sunscreen, the FDA recommends these sun protection measures:
- Limiting time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
- Wearing clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun (long-sleeved shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brimmed hats).
- Using a water resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating.
- Reapplying sunscreen, even if it is labeled as water resistant, at least every 2 hours. (Water resistant sunscreens should be reapplied more often after swimming or sweating, according to the directions on the label.)