New FDA Regulations for Sunscreens

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tarting in the summer of 2012 there will be new FDA Regulations for over-the-counter sunscreens in an effort to help consumers purchase and use sunscreens that offer superior protection.  Sunscreen products in conjunction with other sun-protectant measures help prevent against all sun-induced skin damage such as photo-damage leading to premature skin aging and skin cancer.  An effective sunscreen must protect against UVB and UVA rays, however prior regulations focused only on UVB rays that cause sunburns, skin aging and skin cancer.  They did not address UVA rays which are just as responsible for premature aging and skin cancer.

The new regulations also monitor claims. A broad spectrum sunscreen should protect against both UVA and UVB rays in an effort to help prevent skin cancer.  An SPF of 2 – 14 only protects skin from sunburns but not skin cancer.  The FDA developed a broad spectrum test in which all “broad spectrum” sunscreens (SPF15 or higher) must pass in order to be FDA approved. Sunscreens are also no longer able to claim “water-proof”, “sweat-proof” or “sun block” claims without submitting proof and FDA approval of the claim because it gives a consumer a false sense of protection.

For more information and questions about these new changes and regulations visit:

Azalesha Abrahim PA-C

Jay Geller M.D Accessed October 4,2011.

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