Daily Deals

The FDA's Consumer Protections on Sunscreen

The FDA's Consumer Protections on Sunscreen
: Main Image
Only SPF 15 or higher may be labeled “broad spectrum,” indicating that they will block UVA and UVB rays, and may reduce premature aging and skin cancer
Excess sun exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer, but confusing labeling of the past left even well-intended consumers in the dark when choosing a sunscreen product. Luckily, the FDA updated their sunscreen labeling regulations in 2012, making it easier for us to find the right products to keep ourselves and our families safe in the sun.

Labeling regulations are now more comprehensive

In the past, the sun protection factor number (SPF) found on labels referred only to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, one type of skin-damaging sunlight component. Ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation also is a danger, contributing to premature aging and skin cancer risk. Current labeling requirements cover both UVB and UVA, which helps people better evaluate which products protect against all types of radiation from sun exposure.

For the sunscreen newbie, it helps to understand that SPF is a measure of the time it would take an individual to burn in the sun if they were not wearing sunscreen vs. the time it would take them to burn with sunscreen. But the scale isn’t linear, so SPF 30 is not twice the protection of SPF 15.

Screen your screen

No sunscreens offer 100% protection, but over the course of a lifetime, even a difference of 1 to 2% in a product’s ability to block rays can add up. A product with an SPF 15 blocks about 94% of ultraviolet rays, an SPF 30 blocks 97%, and an SPF 45 blocks about 98% of rays. Other consumer protections include:

  • Only sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher may be labeled “broad spectrum,” indicating that they will block both UVA and UVB rays, and can claim to reduce the risk of premature aging and skin cancer.
  • The SPF on non-broad spectrum sunscreens indicates sunburn protection only. These products do not protect against skin cancer and skin aging. Non-broad spectrum sunscreens with SPF 14 or lower require a warning label that the product isn’t proven to protect against skin cancer or skin aging.
  • Labels may indicate water resistance of up to 80 minutes, but products are unable to make claims of being waterproof or sweatproof.

Enjoy the sun safely

For consumers who prefer to reduce chemical exposure, many health experts advise sticking to physical sunscreens, which include only zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide in the active ingredient list. However, this is not practical or affordable for many people, so keep in mind these other steps for reducing skin cancer risk:

  • Minimizing sun exposure when the sun's rays are the strongest (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
  • Wearing a broad-brimmed hat and covering skin with clothing, when possible, but keeping in mind that a plain white t-shirt only offers an SPF of about 8. Darker colors typically offer more protection.
  • Using a water-resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating.
  • Reapplying sunscreen at least every twp hours, or more often according to activity level and label directions.

("Questions and Answers: FDA announces new requirements for over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreen products marketed in the U.S." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed June 16, 2011. Available at www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/UnderstandingOver-the-CounterMedicines/ucm258468.htm)

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.

Copyright © 2019 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. www.healthnotes.com

Learn more about Healthnotes, the company.

Sign up for coupons and more
Shop Ortho Molecular
Pure Encapsulations
Diamond Formulations
Douglas Laboratories
Thorne Research
Integrative Therapeutics
Neuro Science
Vital Nutrients
Designs For Health
Progressive Labs
Allergy Research Group
Designs For Health
Nutra BioGenesis
DaVinci Laboratories
Genestra Brands
See All Brands
Click for the BBB Business Review of this Vitamins & Food Supplements in Sarasota FL
Alert Site

*Our FREE SHIPPING (includes all US addresses, US territories and US Military addresses, including AK, HI, PR, and VI) is generally sent Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, via priority mail or first class mail from the US Postal Service or UPS Ground, at our discretion. Shipping transit times are generally between 2-7 business days, excluding holidays. We reserve the right to charge a shipping fee if an alternative method is requested. Learn more here.

Please Note: Professional Supplement Center assumes no risk or liability for your use or misuse of information contained on this website. Health related and label information change frequently, and while every attempt has been made to ensure that the content on this site is accurate, product infomation changes are subject to change without notice. Additionally, to comply with our return policy, the label should be reviewed prior to opening a product. You should always check with a healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.
This site is not owned or operated by either Metagenics, Inc. or NeuroScience Inc.
Douglas Laboratories' logo, text, graphics, and photo images are the property of HVL LLC dba Douglas Laboratories and are used with permissions. Copyright © 2019.
Pure Encapsulations' logo, text, graphics, and photo images are the property of Pure Encapsulations, Inc. and are used with permissions. Copyright © 2019.

© Copyright 2019 Professional Supplement Center, LLC, 5441 Palmer Crossing Circle, Sarasota, FL 34233. All rights reserved. Local time is 12/16/2019 7:41:13 AM.