The FDA has recently released new sunscreen labeling rules. Here’s what important for you to know:
1. Sunscreen vs. sunblock: Only “sunscreen” can appear on the label. “Sunblock” will no longer be allowed since they can’t block the sun or prevent skin cancer and aging.
2. Broad spectrum: Look for sunscreens labeled ”broad spectrum” which means it protects against both skin-burning, cancer-causing UVB rays and skin-again, cancer-causing UVA rays.
3. SPF of 15 or higher: Only sunscreens with an SPF 15 or higher can claim to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.
4. Water Resistant: Sunscreens can no longer claim to be “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” A “water resistant” claim must specify whether it provides 40 or 80 minutes of protection.
Photo credit: FCC, TomPurves
Have you ever applied a waterproof sunscreen, gone for a swim or a jog, and ended up with a sunburn? That’s because there is no such thing as “waterproof” sunscreen; it’s a misleading term that overstates the product’s effectiveness, and the FDA is putting a stop to it.
Beginning soon, sunscreen manufacturers will no longer be able to use the words “waterproof” or “sweatproof” on their products. Instead, they will be labeled ”water-resistant” and specify either 40 or 80 minutes of protection. Moreover, if sunscreens are not water-resistant, they will have to carry a warning stating so.
Photo credit: FCC JunCTionS
Do spray sunscreens really work?
Yes, if used properly. That’s because some people apply spray sunscreen on their skin the way grandmothers apply Aqua Net hairspray to their beehives — tightly closed eyes and lips, swirling arms, and chemical cloudbursts. Done this way, most of the sunscreen ends up in the air, not on your skin.
Here’s how to properly apply spray sunscreens:
1. Hold the bottle 6 inches from your skin.
2. Spray evenly.
3. Rub it in.
Don’t forget to cover your hands, feet, ears, and around your hairline.
Photo credit: FCC, joccay.
A mom came into my office the other day complaining of acne. She had switched from her regular sunscreen to her kid’s sunscreen thinking it would be gentler on her face. But her acne got worse.
That’s because kid’s sunscreens are meant to be extra protective, so their ingredients are more likely to clog pores in adults, leading to acne.
I told her to use an adult “non-comedogenic” or non-pimple forming facial sunscreen such as Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunblock SPF 55 or Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock for the Face, SPF 30.
Save the kid’s sunscreen for little Olivia. I also don’t recommend using her Desitin. But that’s for another post.
Photo credit: E-13ss
I just got back from a conference in Hawaii. Did I get a base tan first? No. Why? Because it does more harm than good.
Tanned skin is damaged skin. Even if the base tan helps prevent sunburn, you had to damage your skin to get that tan in the first place. Using artificial tanning to rush a tan before you get on your flight can be even more damaging.
Go to Hawaii, swim with the dolphins, lounge by the pool. Cover up, wear sunscreen, sit in the shade. Your skin needs a vacation too.
Photo: J Benabio, MD