Feb. 01, 2013

FDA Releases New Sunscreen Regulations

Joining in the federal government’s ongoing skin safety campaign, the Food and Drug Administration released new rules that all sunscreen manufacturers must abide by starting in December 2012 for larger companies that make sunscreen, and in December 2013 for smaller companies:

  •     Brands that feature the “Broad Spectrum” label must protect against both ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays. The longer UVA rays age the skin; the shorter UVB rays burn the skin. Both types cause skin cancer, and both have an adverse effect on all forms of lupus.
  •     Only products with sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater will be allowed to claim protection against skin cancer and premature aging. The higher the SPF number, the better the product will protect against the sun.
  •     Sunscreen can no longer be labeled as sunblock or as waterproof or sweatproof.
  •     Every sunscreen must include a “Drug Facts” panel on its container.

We all enjoy these bright summer days, and nice weather means more time spent outdoors with family and friends. But more time in the sun can be tricky for those with lupus. So look out for these new labels when gearing up for the summer sun. And remember: Most people don’t use enough sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied thickly and reapplied in the same way every two hours as long as you are outdoors. Don’t forget to cover your ears and neck and be mindful that high altitudes, snow, and water increase the power of the UV rays. Make your motto: Safe Skin = Sure Win!

Thanks to LFA Education and Research Intern Alisha Ladenburg.