Q&A– What is new about the new sunscreen guidelines?

I tend to distrust new guidelines.  They are often painfully bureaucratic and tend to makes  things less understandable and  more expensive–eg food pyramid to food plate  But these new FDA sunscreen guidelines  make good sense. Whoever came up with these revisions, decided to focus on five important areas:

1.  The term “Broad Spectrum”-  this means that the sunscreen   protects against against both UVA rays ( which cause skin aging) and UV B rays ( which produce tanning)– and both cause skin cancer.  Currently there are no guidelines as to what this has to mean for a product.  The new guidelines  requires thatfor a sunscreen to be broad spectrum it must  contain agents that provide  protection against both types of rays and to state that degree of protection on the label.  So you might see a label that says SPF15 for UVA and 20SPF for UVB.  I thinks its more likely that the manufacturers will provide equal protection against both rays. 

2.   Sunscreens will now have to  provide  at least a 15 SPF in order to make sun protection claims.

3. A suncreen cannot  have more than a 50SPFplus  since  these  higher numbers   may not offer more protection and can give consumers a misleading sense of security  in the sun.

4.  Suncreens can no longer claim they are water resistant, sweat-proof and waterproof without studies that demonstrate its effectiveness.  ( and I had thought they had already had done that)

5.  Products can no longer call themselves sunblocks because  it can convey  a too strong sense of protection.

Keep in mind that these regulations won’t  go into effect for 12 months.  I don’t think that the upcoming regulations will effect what  you are currently using.  However it has made me more aware that I need to try to use more sunscreen and apply more frequently.  In the morning I apply sunscreen on  face, hands and neck.   I also  now carry a small tube of  Cetaphil UVA/UVB Defense SPF50 in my purse. Its oil and fragrance free and I slather  it again on my neck and hands  sometime during  the day.

I’m probably not the poster child for sun protection, but I am certainly more mindful in my daily useage.  How often do you reapply sunscreen?  Do you  reapply  it  to your face and then redo make-up?

6 thoughts on “Q&A– What is new about the new sunscreen guidelines?

  1. Thanks for posting the guidelines. I am an avid sunscreen wearer because I do chemical peels and use Retin-A regularly. I use only physical sunscreens because chemical-type sunscreens cause irritation for me (and I tend to like the idea of reflecting rather than absorbing those rays), but reapplying can be tricky because physical sunscreens tend to have a white cast and they don’t play well with others (i.e., makeup). I’ve found the best technique for reapplying is to rub it together on my fingertips between both hands to get it thinner, then PAT it on rather than rub it on; this keeps my makeup (mostly concealer and powder) in place, so I need only reapply powder to reduce the shine.

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