New labeling on sun-protection products will make it easier for you to know if you’re getting the protection you’ve been promised. The FDA’s new rules allow sunscreens to be labeled “broad spectrum” followed by an SPF number only if they meet specific criteria. They must protect against ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which cause sunburn, as well as ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, which contribute to skin cancer and cause wrinkles. (UVA protection is important, as windows often block UVB but not UVA rays).
Sunscreens of at least SPF 15 can be labeled as protecting against sunburn, early signs of aging, and skin cancer. Sunscreens lower than SPF 15 and without broad spectrum status must carry a warning that reads, in part, “This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”
Products can no longer claim they are “waterproof” or that they provide “all day protection.” Instead, products that pass muster can be labeled “water resistant,” and all sunscreens must tell consumers to reapply every two hours.
While these new regulations are a big step forward, consumers still need to keep on their toes. Don’t be fooled by a super-high SPF, for instance. The FDA has proposed prohibiting SPF claims higher than 50, but has not issued regulations yet. The thought is that you might get a false sense of security from those big numbers and wait too long before reapplying, thus overexposing your skin to the sun.
|Protect while you moisturize with Avalon Organics Vitamin C Renewal Moisture Plus Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 15. This lightweight daily moisturizer is packed with antioxidants, plus zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to prevent wrinkles, spots, and other signs of sun damage.|
|DeVita Solar Body Block SPF 30+ is an all-over moisturizer and a natural sunscreen in one. You get broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection and skin-defending vitamins to help prevent signs of premature aging—plus the fast-absorbing, non-greasy formula leaves skin with a satin sheen. Titanium dioxide- and paraben-free, and ideal for sensitive skin.|
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|Get chemical-free sun protection with Kiss My Face Natural Mineral Formula Broad Spectrum SPF 40, which relies on titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to block rays but blends in clear. Hydresia oleosomes, capsules of oil from safflower seeds that collapse at varying rates on your skin, provide controlled release of moisture. The formula is gentle enough for sensitive skin and children.|