Beaumont Oncologist Offers Tips on New FDA Sunscreen Labels
New sunscreen labeling guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration aim to help consumers choose the right level of protection.
Whether you are beach bound or boating this summer, sunscreen is a must for anyone who spends time in the sun. And on Monday, the Food and Drug Administration began rolling out its new sunscreen labeling regulations.
Choosing a sunscreen product should be easier for consumers to find the right level of protection, according to Richard Keidan, M.D., director, Multidisciplinary Melanoma Clinic, Beaumont Health System.
“Sunscreens may only be labeled ‘broad spectrum’ if they protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays,” said Keidan, who sees a wide range of patients, including those with precancerous conditions to late stages of melanoma.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and is the leading cause of death from skin disease. “It is the most common cancer in women ages 18 to 20, but with the appropriate measure to protect your skin and early diagnoses, it is very preventable,” Keidan said.
To help protect your skin, the new FDA regulations on sunscreen labels include:
- Skin cancer/ Skin aging alert: SPF 2-14 will be labeled with a warning that reads: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”
- Water resistance claims: Sunscreen labels must tell how much time a user can expect to get the declared SPF level of protection while swimming or sweating. Two times will be permitted on labels: 40 minutes or 80 minutes.
- No false claims: Manufacturers cannot make claims that sunscreens are “water proof,” “sweat proof” or offer “instant protection,” nor can they identify their products as “sun blocks.”
- SPF 50+: Sunscreens can no longer carry an SPF label greater than 50. There are no known benefits for SPF higher than 50.
Keidan recommends avoiding overexposure to the sun and following these tips to reduce your risk of skin cancer:
- Reapply sunscreen. Reapplication is necessary and should be done depending on SPF protection. If the SPF is a higher number, it means it can be used less frequently.
- Moderation is key. Avoid sun exposure during its peak times, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and enjoy the sun in moderation.
- Dress appropriately. “There’s nothing wrong with wearing a light, long-sleeve shirt or a wide-brimmed hat in the sun,” Keidan said.
- See a dermatologist. Self-examination of the skin is recommended for young adults as well as seeing a dermatologist annually.
For more information about the Multidisciplinary Melanoma Clinic, call 877-BEAT-CANCER or 877-232-8226.