Unless you’ve been under a rock (hopefully in an effort to avoid the sun), you’ve likely heard the ruckus over the upcoming sunscreen regulations, which take effect this summer. Essentially, the FDA has established a standard test for over-the-counter sunscreens that will determine which products can be labeled “Broad Spectrum.” The sunscreens that pass this test will provide protection against both UVB and UVA rays, and will cap off at “SPF 50+” (so no more of this 100+ business).
This isn’t the first time the FDA has tried to put stricter standards for over-the-counter sunscreens into place. In 2007, in a mandate by Congress, the FDA proposed a labeling system based on a four-star rating to measure both UVA and UVB protection, as well as provide additional information about the ingredients in the “Warnings” and “Drug Facts” boxes-but the revision never went into effect. So what makes this new set of regulations different? And, are these regulations really necessary after 33 years of consideration?
“Currently, sunscreen only discloses the level of protection against UVB radiation, not UVA-even though both types of radiation increase the risk of skin cancer,” explains San Francisco dermatologist Marie Jhin, MD. “The new FDA regulations will force products to disclose the protection level against each type of radiation- something that is extremely valuable to consumers.”
For a more in-depth look at the new sunscreen regulations, make sure to check out the spring-summer 2012 issue of NewBeauty magazine, on newsstands March 27th.
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