Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Decoding Sunscreen Labels

Decoding Sunscreen Labels
FDA Sheds Light on Sunscreens - (JPG v2)

In an attempt to help patients better understand sunscreens and how they protect you from the sun, the FDA began an initiative to streamline sunscreen labels.  Currently, sunscreen labels contain wording that can be misleading and confusing: sunblock, sun protection, UVA, UVB, broad spectrum, sweat proof, water proof, water resistant, and the list goes on!  Fortunately, new regulations will make it much easier for you to quickly identify and select the best sunscreen for your needs.  Below are the key terms you need to understand when deciphering the new sunscreen labels:


Broad Spectrum:  There are two types of radiation from the sun that can harm skin, resulting in premature aging and skin cancers, UVA and UVB.  Broad spectrum suncreens have been proven to protect against both of these harmful types of radiation.    In order for a product to claim it protects against skin cancer, it must be broad spectrum AND contain a minimum SPF 15.  If a product does not meet both of these criteria, the package is required to have the following warning:  “This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”  At Florida Skin Center, we suggest going a step beyond these recommendations, by using broad spectrum suncreens with a minimum SPF  30.


Water Resistant:  With the new regulations, companies will no longer be allowed to claim a product is waterproof , sweat proof, or sunblock.  Instead, a product may be classified as “water resistant”.  Again, if the product is not water resistant, the label must contain a warning alerting the consumer. 


With so many sunscreens available today, choosing the best one can be difficult.  The new regulations should streamline the process and increase your awareness of which products are best and why.  Ask FSC which sunscreen is most appropriate for you and will best meet your needs!  Remember, it is important to wear sunscreen EVERY day, reapplying regularly, in order to prevent the damage that can easily result from the Florida sun. 

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