Published May 8, 2012
Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that the terms ‘waterproof’, ‘sweatproof’ and ‘sunblock’ can no longer appear on sunscreen labels. These terms overstate the effectiveness of the product, further endangering consumers who already have bad sunscreen habits.
University of Washington dermatologist, Linda Chang said, “There can be a false sense of security that using a sun ‘block’ means we are protected from sitting out in the sun, or that a higher SPF is always better, or that waterproof means it does not need to be reapplied.”
User directions must also comply with new rules. The FDA prevents claims that sunscreen provides protection for more than two hours or provides protection immediately after application.
Canada is behind on the science. Despite years of complaints from dermatologists, Health Canada has yet to make any changes although a review is apparently underway.
To get the best out of your sunscreen, the simple rule is just use it. Put it on and reapply. Everyone should use sunscreen that protects against UVA which are the rays that cause cancer. Unlike UVB rays, dark skinned people are not protected from them.
As part of the review, the FDA created a new designation called ‘Broad Spectrum’ which means the product protects against both UVB and UVA. The term may come to Canada but some sunscreens already include labeling for UVA protection. Look for it.
For more information on the FDA’s new rules, visit their website.