New FDA Regulations On Sunscreens

March 28, 2011

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!


  • Reply Makeup Morsels March 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    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)

  • Reply Mihai Rosu March 29, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Hi there.
    Thanks for those informations, it’s really useful.

  • Reply Jody March 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    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.

  • Reply alexa March 30, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    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!

  • Reply Phyllis April 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    You’re all very welcome =)

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