In June 2011 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released new regulations for sunscreen manufacturers that require them to change their labeling to reflect the discoveries found in research done in the last 5 years. All sunscreen manufacturers were required to have their labels changed, and on new bottles no later than June 2012. As we head into the end of July 2012 it is important for you to understand what your sunscreen is telling you.
After a lot of research I realized two things: 1) I never really understood sunscreen; and 2) I had to share what I learned with as many people as I could. I have a post on my site dedicated to the rules for labeling sunscreen. For our purposes I’ll give you the highlights and suggestions for sunscreen based on the things I’ve learned.
Here are the highlights that will help you read your sunscreen labels better, and be more informed about the sun protection you are getting and using on your children.
- Any sunscreen with SPF 2 to 14, OR does not have protection from both UVA and UVB rays must disclose that they can help prevent sunburn, but cannot claim to protect against skin cancer.
- The risk of skin cancer can only be claimed on labels if the sunscreen is SPF 15 or higher AND has broad spectrum protection. Bottom Line: It must have at least SPF 15 and say either against UVA and UVB or it can just say Broad Spectrum protection.
- The words waterproof, sweatproof and sunblock cannot be used on a label any longer. No sunscreen is truly waterproof because all sunscreens do wash off. Sunblocks can state they are water resistant, but it must “resist” water for a minimum of 40 minutes. It’s important to note that manufacturers cannot put ‘Water Resistent’ on their labels without submitting testing reports providing proof of this claim.
Another face sunscreen to consider is Fallene Face Cotz SPF 40 is non-greasy and can replace your moisturizer if you want.
When I had my oldest I read everywhere and was told by the pediatrician that I could not put sunscreen on him for the first 6 mo. Now there is Episencial Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35 that is all natural and can be used on a baby as soon as s/he is born.
You can also try BabyGanics Cover Up Baby SPF 50 for your child(ren). It’s a thinner easily blendable sunscreen which is great on the go baby sunscreen.
Every sunscreen, no matter what the label says needs to be re-applied every 2 hours. Sunscreen loses its effectiveness after 2 hours when outdoors. It’s important to continue the level of protection by reapplying while outdoors.
My kids will be wearing sunscreen all year round. No matter what the weather is outside, damaging UVA rays are present. I should sign up for a regular sunscreen delivery now.
However, all of this is inconsequential if you don’t put enough sunscreen on. I will admit that I was personally guilty of this grievance. Sunscreen needs to be applied quite liberally. The best way to know you’ve put on enough sunscreen is when you are done your skin stays wet another 1-2 minutes.
Have you learned anything new about sunscreens to share? Please comment and let us know what we should know to better protect ourselves and our families.