August 24, 2007

FDA Proposes New Rule for Sunscreen Products

Have you looked at your sunscreen lately? Do you think your SPF (sunscreen protection factor) is an indicator of the level of protection you’re receiving from the sun's rays? It may not be.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed revisions to the rules used to rate SPFs. The new rules will require sunscreen manufacturers to factor in the level of protection from both UVA rays, as well as UVB rays. The current system only considers protection against UVB. UVB rays are those that cause sunburn, while UVA rays are those that lead to “suntan.”

What does the FDA hope to gain from this move? That the general public understands their skin protection involves more than just sunscreen. In fact, skin protection involves taking several precautions -- sunscreen, wearing protective clothing and limiting your time in the sun.

"Many consumers incorrectly believe the only way to protect themselves from skin damage caused by the sun is to apply sunscreens," said Douglas Throckmorton, M.D., deputy director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "The labeling being proposed today strengthens the existing labeling for sunscreens by educating consumers on the added importance of limiting their time in the sun and wearing protective clothing as part of a sun protection regimen."

These changes would also lead to a broader spectrum of SPFs. Currently only products up to SPF 30 are recognized by the FDA. Under the new rules, products would range from SPF 2 to SPF 50+.

You can follow this process on the FDA's website.

And remember, to keep your skin safe ... wear sunscreen, protective clothing and limit your time in the sun!

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