New Sunscreen Regulations: What You Need to Know
On June 14, 2011, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced new regulations for labeling sunscreen and other sun-blocking products. The familiar SPF categorization will still exist in an updated capacity, but will be joined by a new label, "Broad Spectrum." Depending on annual sales, companies will have until either December 17, 2012, or December 13, 2013, to comply with the FDA testing and update their labels accordingly.
If you sell sun-, skin-, or even lip-care products, you need to know what the new regulations mean and how they may affect your business. There is new terminology, new declarations that must be printed, others that are now banned, and several other changes that can affect the decoration and design of your personal care products.
What Are the New Regulations?
Starting December 12, sun block with the appropriate amount of UVA and UVB protection will be labeled as Broad Spectrum, indicating that it protects against premature aging and skin cancer as well as sunburn. Sunscreens that only protect against sunburn will not have the Broad Spectrum designation.
Sunscreen with SPF 2 to 14 will need to indicate on the packaging that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or aging. Labels will also need to indicate whether they are water-resistant and for how long, and display usage directions.
In addition, the FDA has proposed a rule that would limit SPF rankings to "50+" and is "currently reexamining the safety information available for active ingredients included in sunscreens marketed today." These proposals, while unlikely to have an impact by next year, may lead to further labeling and testing requirements down the line.
SPF? Broad Spectrum? UVA and UVB? What Does it All Mean?
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) has been the standard for sunscreen since the 1960s, but as scientists learn more about the way sun exposure works, it's become necessary to expand product testing and reporting. The addition of the Broad Spectrum classification will allow manufacturers to better detail what kinds of skin damage the lotion protects against.