The New SPF Regulations: What You Need To Know
July 9, 2012
You may soon notice that many sunscreens are sporting new labels, with new terms, facts, and instructions to comply with the Food and Drug Administration’s new SPF regulations. Last summer, the FDA announced new requirements for over-the-counter sunscreens, specifically in how they’re marketed and what can and cannot be claimed on a label and packaging.
Although the original deadline for compliance from most major brands has been pushed back from June to December 2012, many companies, including Desert Essence, have already begun implementing the new requirements. We’re excited about helping customers better understand the sunscreen options available to them. More information leads to better sun protection and healthier skin for all.
Here’s what you can expect from the FDA’s new SPF regulations, and why it’s important:
Clearer UVA/UVB labeling: Traditionally, most sunscreens’ SPF only indicated protection strength against UVB rays, which can cause sunburn, but not UVA rays, which go deeper into the skin to cause aging (both types can also cause skin cancer). The new FDA measures require a standard test to measure effectiveness against both types of rays, and only sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays will have the designation of “Broad Spectrum SPF.”
No more “waterproof,” “sweatproof,” or “sunblock”: These terms are no longer allowed on labels because they overstate the effectiveness of sunscreens. Claims of “water-resistance” must also indicate whether the product is effective for 40 or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating. To play it safe, always reapply after swimming or sweating, and every two hours otherwise.
Use as directed: You’ll also find new language for use claims on sunscreen labels. Only those with Broad Spectrum SPF 15 or higher can claim to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early aging (those with less can only claim to prevent sunburn). For the best possible protection, use these products as directed with additional measures, such as limiting time in the sun during peak hours or wearing long sleeved shirts, pants, and sunglasses.
Drug Facts on every bottle: The back of your sunscreen products may start looking a lot like the backs of medicine or pill packages. You’ll now find a list of Active and Inactive ingredients, Uses, Warnings, and Directions on each sunscreen label, intended to help you better understand how each product protects your body.
How will these new guidelines affect Desert Essence products? Only for the better, with more information and clearer labels for you. We’re happy to make the switch, starting with the latest addition to our sun protection products, our reformulated Mineral Sunscreen, now with Broad Spectrum SPF35 and certified under the NSF “Contains Organic Ingredients” standard.