FRIDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- New labeling laws for
sunscreen will help American consumers choose the product that
provides the best sun protection, experts say.
The new labels must provide information about whether a
sunscreen will protect against skin cancer in addition to sunburn,
and will also have to indicate whether a sunscreen is
water-resistant, according to the American Academy of
All sunscreens that do not meet the new U.S. Food and Drug
Administration testing requirements have to have warning labels
that outline their sun-protective limitations.
"Sunscreen has always been an important tool in the fight against skin cancer, and these new regulations will greatly improve the consumer's ability to make smart decisions -- at a glance -- about a product's effectiveness simply by reading the label," dermatologist Dr. Zoe Draelos, a consulting professor at the Duke University School of Medicine, said in an academy news release.
"Everyone, regardless of skin color, can get skin cancer, which is why it is important for people to properly protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays," Draelos said.
To reduce your risk of skin cancer and early aging, the academy
recommends using a sunscreen with the following features listed on
- Broad spectrum, which means the sunscreen protects against UVB
and UVA rays.
- A sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. SPF 15 is the
FDA's minimum recommendation for protection, but the academy
recommends an SPF of at least 30.
- Water-resistant for up to either 40 or 80 minutes. This means
the sunscreen provides protection while swimming or sweating for
the length of time listed on the label.
Sunscreen makers are no longer allowed to claim that a sunscreen
is "waterproof" or "sweatproof" because the FDA has determined that
those terms are misleading.
In addition to sunscreen, the academy recommends wearing
sun-protective clothing, seeking shade and avoiding tanning
At current rates, one in five Americans will be diagnosed with
skin cancer in their lifetime.
Sunscreen makers had until last December to comply with the new
regulations, according to the FDA.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about