It might have taken 33 years (the proposal to have stricter requirements for sunscreens actually came up in 1978) but the FDA is finally ready with an updated directive for sunscreen labelling:
- Sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or less and those that have only UVB protection (which means they don’t protect against UVA) now need to carry a warning saying: “This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.” Why the difference? Because while all sunscreens protect against UVB rays, UVA rays are more difficult to tackle. UVA rays lead to ageing (think wrinkles), while UVB rays cause burning. And both cause cancer!
- Sunscreens can no longer promote themselves as “sunblock,” “waterproof” or “sweat-proof” as the FDA calls these “exaggerations of performance.”
There is one more proposal on the anvil that hasn’t gone into effect yet:
- SPFs will be capped at 50, unless the company can prove that they warrant an even higher number.