New FDA Regulations On Sunscreens

On and off we have been hearing about these new FDA rules for sunscreens. But how will they affect you and me? Find out after the jump!

According to Harvard Health Publications, the new rule will require all sunscreens to provide information on the label regarding protection against UVA rays and UVB rays.

Currently, sunscreens on the market are only required to show the SPF value, which tells us how well the product protects against UVB rays. No indication of protection against UVA rays, which can penetrate deeper into the skin and cause skin cancer, premature aging and wrinkles, is required.

Under the new system, sunscreens will be required to pass two tests for UVA protection and ranked under a 4-star system, with one being the lowest and four the highest.

SPF, formally known as Sun Protection Factor, will also be renamed to Sunburn Protection Factor and capped at 50+. This means any rating over 50 will not be recognized.

In the mean time, what should you do? Look for a physical sunblock with full UV spectrum protection. “Physical barrier sunblocks use zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to provide full spectrum protection from the sun, which is superior to the partial spectrum protection offered by chemical varieties. These ingredients actually prevent most of the sun’s rays from reaching the skin, rather than absorbing a limited spectrum, as with chemical sunscreens” says Orange County dermatologist Dr. Manu Seyfzadeh.

To help you understand more about the different FDA-approved sunscreen ingredients, here is a chart that shows you what they do:

And as I always say, wear sunscreen all year round, regardless of the weather and occasion. Remember to reapply every 2 hours, especially after swimming, sweating or drying off with a towel.

Need a sunscreen rec? Check out my sunscreen reviews!

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE,, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. Thanks for this post, Phyllis! It’s good to know that they’re tightening the regulations, and I finally know the difference between physical and chemical blocks! (never too clear on that before lol)

  2. Finally. There has been way too much confusion about UVA protection. I don’t know why the international standard for UVA (PA+ rating system) isn’t just being used as that would seem easier. This post is very useful.

  3. Fantastic article! As much as I love laying out in the sun, I love my health more and ALWAYS wear SPF 30 all year round… In HK you’ll find obscene sunscreens that claim to have SPF100…crazy!

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