FDA Doles Out More Time For Sunscreen Regulations

After literally hemming and hawing for a decade about standardizing the language on sunscreen packaging, the FDA has finally putting into effect new regulations that sunscreen companies must adhere to in the hopes that protecting ourselves against sun, as consumers, will be made easier. The new rules will essentially dispel the myth that any protection lower than a SPF 15 offers enough protection against the suns UVA and UVB rays (it doesn’t), ensures that the magical number behind those three little letters (SPF) applies to both UVA and UVB rays, and also states that any sunscreen that uses the words “broad spectrum” must pass a regulated test to ensure that the level of “broad spectrum” ingredients is enough to actually do what it claims to do.

And while the FDA was giving sunscreen companies until June 2012 to institute the changes (June 2013 for smaller brands), apparently that’s not enough time for manufacturers to institute the addition of clarity in their packaging. (???) The FDA announced yesterday that it would give manufacturers an additional six months to put its new labeling regulations into place.  So it looks like we’re set to spend another summer guessing just what that mystery SPF number means and how much sun protection-in-a-bottle is enough. Just another reminder that as cosmetic consumers, it’s still buyer-beware.


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