Finally! About two weeks ago, the FDA announced that they are introducing new sunscreen rules that will hopefully prevent more sun burns and sun cancers. I’ve been purchasing broad spectrum sunscreens of at least SPF 30 for awhile, but it’s always been frustrating to me that all sunscreens in the US do not offer this protection. European countries have made this sort of protection standard for years, and it’s encouraging that our country is finally getting on the bandwagon. It’s not difficult to find sunscreens here that offer UVB protection, but finding broad spectrum sunscreens that shield sunbathers from harmful UVA rays is not always as easy. Sometimes I’ve had to resort to buying “baby sunscreen” to make sure I get both types of protection. Whatever works!
The new rules will go into full effect next summer (2012), so read learn and apply (no pun intended) the rules before heading out for your next Florida beach vacation. Here’s a quick rundown of how the rules will change things:
1. The term “broad spectrum” will not be able to be used on sunscreens that don’t provide the minimum standard of UVA protection.
2. All sunscreens will continue to have an SPF rating, but for products that DON’T have the broad-spectrum rating, the SPF rating will rate ONLY the UVB protection.
3. Higher SPF numbers on broad-spectrum sunscreens will mean more protection against BOTH UVB and UVA
4. Here’s a very helpful one — sunscreens will have to put in writing how many minutes after water exposure or sweating the sunscreen will still be effective (i.e. 30 minutes or 50 minutes). Those that are not water resistant will have to say so on the box.
5. NO sunscreen will be allowed to say that it is wateraPROOF (Hurray! This has always been a pet peeve of mine.) Saying a sunscreen is water RESISTANT is fine, so long as the sunscreen tells you how long you have before you have to re-apply.
Here’s to safe sun worshiping! Remember — you are NOT protected from the sun by the ocean. You’re actually much more exposed when in and around the ocean. I would show you pictures from personal experience to prove this, but I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day.