New FDA Regulations on Sunscreen by Megan Goslee

Summer is here and it is important to ensure skin is well-protected from harmful sun exposure.  Avoiding the sun entirely would be the best way to protect against such dangers, but how realistic is that method?  The most reasonable line of defense to battle the sun’s rays is to use sunscreen, but not just any type of sunscreen.

Spending extended periods of time under the sun can be very detrimental to skin health.  UVA light and UVB light are 2 types of radiation that are produced by the sun. UVB causes sunburn, whereas UVA penetrates deep into the skin, developing a tan.  Both forms of UV light can lead to premature skin aging and cancer.  Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer, and it is most often caused from too much sun exposure.  To fully protect from the potential risks the sun may pose, it is necessary to apply a sunscreen that fits your personal needs.

Take notice to the various brands of sunscreen stocking the shelves this summer; you may see that a few things have changed.  The FDA has implemented new regulations on sunscreen labels, ordering manufactures provide a more detailed description of how their product protects against the sun’s rays.  A 4-star rating system will also be printed on the bottle to show the consumer how effective each product is in protecting from both UVA and UVB light.  Labels will also state: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”

Sunscreen will no longer be referred to as “sun block” or state that it provides “instant protection.”  These changes are due to that fact that sunscreen does not completely shield the sun, and it certainly cannot provide instant protection.  However, sunscreen can aid in preventing severe skin damage caused by the sun.  It is so important to protect your skin, so when you step out into the sun this summer, remember to lather on the sunscreen and be wary to the type of product you are using.


The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.




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