New Sunscreen Regulations: What You Need to Know
"Broad Spectrum is the designation that a product reduces the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging," explained Megan Ludlow, marketing manager for SnugZ USA, based in Salt Lake City. "Broad Spectrum products still have a Sun Protection Factor. Any product that has an SPF below 15 would need to carry a warning stating that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging. SPF 15 or higher will be permitted to claim that they help reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging."
Any product with the Broad Spectrum designation has an SPF 15 or higher rating, but not all products with SPF 15 and above will be labeled as Broad Spectrum. The difference is determined by how much protection a sunscreen provides against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, two of the leading causes of skin damage.
"UVA rays are known to cause skin cancer and early skin aging while UVB rays are known to cause sunburn," said Teresa Perdue, quality assurance director for Leashables by OraLabs, Parker, Colo. "On products labeled as SPF but not Broad Spectrum, the SPF value indicates the amount of protection against sunburn only."
It's therefore possible for a product to have an SPF 50 rating, but only provide protection against sunburn-causing UVB rays. "Sunscreens on the market today are a mix of those that have the sunscreen chemicals that provide both UVA/UVB protection and those that provide UVB protection only," Perdue said. "Companies will need to ensure the claims they are making on their sunscreen is backed by required testing."
How Will the New Rules Affect Your Business?
Many skincare products in our industry already abide by FDA requirements. "We will not need to change any of our formulas," Ludlow said of SnugZ USA's sunscreen and lip balm. "We will update our labels accordingly and provide testing for the UVA and UVB protection as well as the number of minutes that our sunscreen will be water-resistant."