The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking ground-breaking steps to help protect consumers from a painful and dangerous hazard of summer: sunburn and its damage to the skin. The new measures clarify the effectiveness of sunscreen products and help ensure their proper labeling and manufacture.
Final regulations that become effective next year define the characteristics of over-the-counter sunscreens with broad spectrum protection and sun protection factor (SPF) values of 15 or higher. These products shield users against two types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun: ultraviolet B (UVB), which is primarily responsible for causing sunburn; and ultraviolet A (UVA), which contributes to sunburn, skin cancer, and premature skin aging.
And among the proposed regulations is one that would require sunscreen products that have 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.