New Regulations for Sunscreens

The now familiar SPF numbers tell how much protection you will receive against sunburns from UVB rays. U.S. consumers will soon know just how much protection each sunscreen product will provide from cancer causing UVA rays.

Currently sunscreens are as varied as they are confusing to the consumer. Long rows of sunscreen products line the shelves of every drug store making the choice difficult for parents wanting to provide the best sun protection to their children. The wild sun protection claims and the bewildering list of ingredients add to the confusion.

But things will soon be different, at least in the United States. Sunscreen producers are now being targeted the powerful U.S. Food and Drug Administration to provide credible proof to their claims to protect against UVA rays.

As of next summer the FDA will enforce new regulations for the so called “broad spectrum” protection products which protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Canadian shoppers will have to wait for new regulation regarding UVA protection claims as health administrators are reviewing an international system to test for UVA and UVB protection.

While dermatologists are happy to see the new rules coming into the marketplace some advocacy groups are disappointed that the new rules do not cover the potentially harmful effects of some sunscreen ingredients such as retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone.

Under the new FDA regulations, sunscreens with SPF 15 or lower will not be allowed to claim protection against skin cancer or early skin aging.

Until the new regulations are implemented, consumers are advised by dermatologist to only use products which offer “broad spectrum” protection.

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