Can't wait to catch some rays? Before you head out to parks, rooftops, beaches and backyards for some sun worshiping action, make sure your skin is protected. That means using a good sunscreen. Be sure to read the label before you buy!
After recognizing that not all sunscreens are created equal, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established standards in summer 2012 for testing the effectiveness of sunscreen products. It also began to require labeling that accurately reflects those test results.
The FDA's final regulations include these additional labeling provisions:
Under these 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. The revised labeling will also tell consumers on the back of the product that sunscreens labeled as both “Broad Spectrum” and “SPF 15” (or higher) not only protect against sunburn, but also, if used as directed with other sun protection measures, can reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.
The FDA does not have adequate data demonstrating that products with SPF values higher than 50 provide additional protection compared with products with SPF values of 50. If using SPF 100 makes you feel better, by all means carry on. It's just something for folks to consider, since the jury is still out on values higher than 50.
Additional tips to keep your skin safe