Practice safe sun. Kind of like cutting out wheat, this is often-times easier said than done. We know not to hit the tanning bed and to wear sunscreen, but label reading now seems to require a degree in the medical field.
With terms like UVA, UVB and SPF, even the most savvy beauty gal can furrow her brow when shopping for sun-safe products. To make things even more complex, the FDA’s regulations on sunscreen are changing as of June 1.
Just in time for Memorial Day beach vacations and summer pool season, we spoke with skin care expert, product formulator and entrepreneur Celeste Hilling to get the scoop.
Hilling is the CEO of San Diego-based Skin Authority and says that she's glad that regulations have caught up with the science of sun safety.
Here’s what Hilling says you can expect:
The key things you’ll want to look for on the label are Broad Spectrum and the SPF amount:
Sunscreens that pass the FDA's test for UVA and UVB protection will be labeled as "broad spectrum”. Previously, an SPF number was the only requirement to indicate how much protection a product provided against UVB radiation, the primary cause of sunburn. With the new rules, you will know whether a sunscreen will protect you from UVA rays, the leading cause of skin cancer and premature skin aging.
Sunscreens meeting the broad-spectrum standards and containing an SPF of at least 15 will be allowed to claim on their label that they protect against skin cancer and early skin aging.
Speaking of SPF, 50 is now the max a broad spectrum sunscreen manufacturer can claim.
The ray absorption differences between SPF ratings are minimal, says Hilling. “Depending on the chemicals that are added, SPF 15 and 30 only vary between 95 vs. 97 percent concentration. Going from SPF 15 to 30, you would think that your protection is doubled. It’s not! Now, labels will be clearer so that you don’t receive a false sense of security.”
· Sunscreens will carry a drug fact panel box listing ingredients.
· The often-misleading terms of sunblock, waterproof, or sweat proof will go away. Instead, look for "water resistant". There will be two designations with water resistant: reapply either 40 or 80 minutes after swimming or sweating. You can still reapply every two hours when you are dry.
· Claims of “instant protection” or protection for more than two hours without reapplication won’t be allowed without FDA approval.
Of note, the popular sunscreen sprays are still under review as part of the new FDA regulations.
A few more tips to keep you from feeling the heat:
1. Use sunscreen every day, rain or shine.
2. Don’t skimp. The average-size body requires at least a shot-glass worth to achieve maximum coverage.
3. Don’t dig to the bottom of your beach bag for last year’s sunscreen. Sun protection expires after 12 months.
Have other questions? Tweet Celeste over on @Skin_Authority.