The federal government last week for the first time in more than 3 decades issued new sunscreen labeling regulations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new regulations attempt to ban sunscreen manufacturers from labeling their products with misleading information. The new rules which will go into effect in a years time should help sun worshipers better protect themselves by clarifying the confusing and misleading labeling on sunscreens and suntan lotions that often leave people confused about exact product is best to protect themselves and their family from harmful radiation.
The full guideline of new regulations can be read at the FDA website. Among the highlights of the new rules that you might notice when shopping for a sunscreen.
- Products will no longer be able to be labeled “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” Instead, they will have to list how many minutes they can last in the face of moisture. Also gone? The word “sunblock.” Too misleading.
- Only sunscreens found, in the lab, to protect equally against UVA and UVB rays will carry a “broad spectrum” designation. (The current SPF ratings that most consumers rely on refer to how well sunscreen stands up to UVB rays only.) In addition, only sunscreens that are SPF 15 and higher will be able to claim they reduce the risks of skin cancer and aging.
SPF, or the Sun Protection Factor, measures a sunscreen’s ability to protect against UVB rays, which are the rays that cause skin to redden. So does sunscreen with SPF 30 provide double the protection of SPF 15? According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the reality looks like this: SPF 15 blocks 93 per cent of UVB rays; SPF 30 blocks 97 per cent; and SPF 50 blocks 98 per cent. Sunscreen isn’t additive, either, so putting on sunscreen with SPF 15 over a lotion with SPF 30 doesn’t equal SPF 45. and while SPF is an important factor when buying sunscreen, it doesn’t protect against UVA rays. Even though these rays don’t cause sunburn like UVB rays, they’re still dangerous. For starters, UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing premature aging, including wrinkles, sagging and discolouration. Worse, they exacerbate UVB’s damaging effects and cause skin cancer. To shield skin from both UVB and UVA rays, find a sunscreen with “broad-spectrum protection.” Some ingredients to look for include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, physical ingredients that offer UVA and UVB protection and are gentler on the skin than chemical formulas.
Besides knowing what’s in the sunscreen products it’s also smart to use them correctly. It’s always best to apply your sunscreen BEFORE you go outside! If you read the instructions on the back of product you will see that the manufactures recommend applying the sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you’re exposed to the sun’s powerful rays. That time let’s your skin absorb some of the product and makes it more effective.
Many people also don’t use enough sunscreen. It’s recommended that an adult needs about 1 ounce of sunscreen for adequate coverage and remember to apply the lotion or spray to all exposed skin. Many people forget about their ears, neck and feet, only to end up with a nasty and uncomfortable burn later in the day! Besides making sure you use enough, it will work better if applied to clean, dry skin and should always be reapplied after perspiring, exercise or swimming. The waterproof, and water resistant products still need to be reapplied after a certain amount of time to make sure they will continue to work.
And one more quick tip to make sure that you get the most out of your sunscreen…make sure you put it on! It seems simple, but even on overcast days, the sun is still in the sky and you are still getting UV radiation, so apply sunscreen no matter what the cloud cover is. Most weather reports will now include a UV warning, so let that guide your decision to wear sunscreen or not.
Everyone at CanadaDrugs.com wants our customers to enjoy the summer sun, but do it safely, that’s why we carry a full line of popular brand and comparable generics sunscreen products. Canada Drugs offers the widest assortment of OTC sunscreen products of any online pharmacy. We carry a variety of lotions, creams and spray sun protection products at all SPF levels. We sell all the major brand names available in the United States, as well as a selection of products available from other countries.