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Sunscreen 101

Play it safe in the sun: New FDA guidelines make it easier to save your skin; here's how to make sense of them

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  • Here is what the new rules mean for you:

    Sun protection factors (SPF): "That SPF number on your sunscreen bottle signifies the level of sunburn protection against UVB (ultraviolet B) radiation it provides," says Jennifer Linder, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with the Skin Cancer Foundation. "All sunscreens will be subjected to testing to verify their SPF values, and those over 50 can only be labeled 'SPF 50+,' as there is no data proving those with higher values provide any additional protection."

     

    Broad-spectrum protection: "SPF may refer to the sun's UVB radiation, but you need protection from UVA (ultraviolet A) rays, too: They have also been shown to raise our risk for skin cancer and skin aging," says Linder. Formulas that protect against both of the sun's harmful rays are called broad-spectrum protection. "Sunscreens will have to pass new testing by the FDA to prove they're equally effective at guarding against both UVA and UVB before they can be labeled 'broad-spectrum,'" says Yao. "And broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF 15 or higher will be able to claim to help lower the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging when used as directed and in conjunction with other sun protecting measures like avoiding the midday sun and wearing protective clothing."

    If you're looking for broad-spectrum protection, then try La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizing Cream With Sunscreen SPF 15, Sonya Dakar MicroVenom Daily Defense SPF 30 or Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Faces SPF 50+.

Sunscreen 101
Play it safe in the sun: New FDA guidelines make it easier to save your skin; here's how to make sense of them
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