The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has brand new regulations on the proper labeling for sunscreens, but it’s the final proposed rule that has caught my attention!
The FDA, as part of their sunscreen label overhaul, is proposing to ban sunscreen manufacturers from calling any product higher than SPF 50+ — and dermatologists agree. Keep reading to see what top dermatologists, Dr. Katz, Dr. Brandt, and Dr. Gold, have to say about SPF.
Dr. Katz explains why you don’t need to wear an SPF higher than 50, saying, “An SPF 50 is more than adequate — it’s really meaningless to have any higher than that because SPF is a function of how much time it takes for you to get sunburned. So if there is an SPF of two and it takes 15 minutes for you to get sunburned then [with sunscreen] it takes 30 minutes. If you go up to 50, there’s not enough hours in a day to make a difference. So the more important thing to have is good ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxade, or avobenzone.”
Dr. Gold seconds this explanation, saying, “Because sunscreens that propose more than an SPF of 50 actually do not have that much more protection than those with an SPF of 50. This works because the “protection”curve, which is basically an “S” reaches a peak and then is fairly insignificant after that – which is around an SPF of 50. More science would be needed to prove more protection and that does not exist.”
So what is the thought process behind this rule? How does it protect consumers for manufacturers not to be able to label their products higher than SPF 50+?
“There’s no value,” says Dr. Katz, “SPF 100 does the same as SPF 50, but it’s marketing and that’s why they’re saying no more than SPF 50 because they charge more for it.”
Or as Dr. Brandt explains it: “Anything above a 30 to 50 does not offer any true increase in sun protection. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and mainly measures UVB protection. A person wearing SPF 15 could stay out in the sun 15 times longer than someone without protection before getting burned. Reapplication is the key.”
All three dermatologists agree that wearing SPF 30-50 will keep you safe from the sun. “Anything above a 30 to 50 does not offer any true increase in sun protection,” explains Dr. Brandt.
If you have a history of sun damage, Dr. Gold recommends staying closer to SPF 50 — otherwise you’re ready to hit the beach!
So how should you stay sun safe this July 4th weekend?
“People should put the sunscreen on before they go out everyday, they should reapply if they’re swimming or sweating profusely, and again sunscreen is not a be all and end all, you still have to try to avoid intense sun between the hours of 10 and 3 and wear covered-up clothing too,” says Dr. Katz. “That’s important.”
Sun protection come in many shapes and sizes and these fourteen products each have a bonus perk, whether it be a great scent, anti-aging abilities, portable packaging & more! Click through the gallery to see 14 suggestions and check out nine sunscreens for babies and kids from the HollyBaby sun protection guide.
What sort of sun protection do you use?