FDA Sheds Light on Sunscreens

The final regulations, which become effective June 18, 2012, will determine which products are allowed to be labeled as “Broad Spectrum.”

Products that pass the broad spectrum test will provide protection against both ultraviolet B radiation (UVB) and ultraviolet A radiation (UVA). Under the new regulations, sunscreen products that protect against all types of sun-induced skin damage will be labeled “Broad Spectrum” and “SPF 15” (or higher) on the front. By contrast, any sunscreen not labeled as “Broad Spectrum” or that has an SPF value between 2 and 14, has only been shown to help prevent sunburn.

SPF values higher than 50 to be labeled as “SPF 50+.” FDA does not have adequate data demonstrating that products with SPF values higher than 50 provide additional protection compared to products with SPF values of 50.