FDA Watch: New Sunscreen Guidelines

Excessive exposure to the sun is hard on the skin because UV rays can damage cells. This damage is linked to an increased risk for skin cancer, and overexposure to the sun’s rays can cause premature wrinkling. 

Getting a sunburn or tan is a sign of skin damage, so the healthiest choice is to use sunscreen for protection from UV rays. Recent concerns about the safety of sunscreen itself may have individuals questioning the use of these products on their skin, but new FDA guidelines are meant to provide regulation within the sunscreen industry and offer consumers peace of mind.

New FDA sunscreen guidelines have been created to regulate the safety and effectiveness of over-the-counter sun protection products. These guidelines dictate what active ingredients should be used, the maximum SPF to be used and labeling on packaging. Learn how these guidelines can increase confidence in sunscreen selection.

New FDA Guidelines

Before a manufacturer of sunscreen can get the FDA stamp of approval under the new guidelines, their product has to be deemed both safe and effective. Part of this safety requirement includes the use of two active ingredients that have been determined to be safe on human skin: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

In addition to this sweeping guideline, there are more specific rules about SPF. In the past, the FDA has said that there is no difference between products with 50+ SPF level of protection and anything higher. The new guidelines state 60+ SPF provides the best protection. 

Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher must be broad spectrum under this new set of guidelines. A broad spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB offering the most protection from harmful rays that could cause skin cancer.

Changes to Labeling

For ease of consumer buying, the FDA is also asking that changes be made to labeling. Similarly to over-the-counter drugs, sun protection products must now list active ingredients on the front of the bottle.

Some sunscreens won’t live up to guidelines that determine if a product can actually help prevent sun damage-related cancers and premature aging. The FDA will now require that a warning be placed on these products so buyers can be clear about the limitations of the item they are purchasing.

For individuals anxious to protect their skin, it is crucial that sunscreens are carefully examined to meet these guidelines. When possible, add extra protection like a hat or long sleeves to keep skin healthy and sunburn-free.

6/24/2019 7:00:00 AM
Wellness Editor
Written by Wellness Editor
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Do sunscreens offer adequate protection from UVC? That is the new threat and why so many are suffering burns rapidly and has been until recently, not a concern (UVC use to not reach ground level). So far, physical sun barriers are the only option from my research.
Posted by Sport
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