New FDA regulations establish a standard test for sunscreens labeled as “broad spectrum.”
These regulations became effective as of June 18. To avert a shortage of sunscreen in the summer months, the FDA has extended compliance dates for testing and labeling until Dec. 17 for most over-the-counter sunscreen products, according to the FDA consumer website.
Here is a sneak peak at what you can expect to see on sunscreen bottles.
Until recently, many sunscreens have only had UVB protection and not UVA protection. UVB radiation causes sunburn as well as skin cancer, while UVA rays penetrate the skin deeper and can cause skin cancer.
New regulations will allow brands that have UVB and UVA protection to label their products “broad spectrum” once tested. With the new regulations, if a sunscreen is under SPF 15, brands must note that the sunscreen only prevents sunburn and does not prevent against skin cancer.
Sunscreen brands must also label the product as being sweatproof or waterproof for either 40 minutes or 80 minutes, and must note on the label that reapplication is necessary for sun protection.
In addition to the new FDA regulations, there are certain chemicals that people are wary about. These chemicals include parabens, which mimic estrogen and have been found in breast cancer tumors; oxybenzone, which is an endocrine disruptor; PABA, an allergen; and Vitamin A, which may boost skin cancer risks.
Your best bet is to opt for a natural sunscreen that is made with biodegradable ingredients and is safe not only for you but the environment as well. Remember to look at the label and look for minerals like zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which protect against UVA and UVB rays, and look for the label “broad spectrum.” If you don’t know what an ingredient is, do some research and look it up.
Here are a few sunscreens that we are lathering up with this summer:
Nature’s Gate Mineral Sunscreen
This mineral sunscreen by Nature’s Gate is broad-spectrum with an SPF 20, which means it has both UVA and UVB protection, and has up to 40 minutes of water protection.
It contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to help protect skin and is fragrance-free. It is oxybenzone and paraben-free and is affordable at only $9.99 at your local natural food store.
Honest Sunscreen From The Honest Company
Created by Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company, this sunscreen has a mineral, nonchemical base and features eight organic and natural ingredients, including zinc oxide, olive oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, and vitamin E.
It is SPF 20, which means it offers up to 40 minutes of water protection. Plus it is safe to use on children older than 6 months. The formula is non-greasy, fragrance-free, vegan, noncomedogenic, and biodegradable.
Purchase this sunscreen on The Honest Company’s website, www.honest.com, for $13.95.
Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen
This all-natural sunscreen (SPF 30) is specifically designed to protect the face and neck from UVA and UVB rays, aging, and breakouts. It’s a light, nonclogging formula that can be worn daily for protection and features a combination of organic botanicals, including neem, shatavari, and rose.
Purchase this sunscreen on Pratima’s website, www.pratimaskincare.com, for $18.
California Baby Year-Round Sunscreen Stick
For easy travel, the California Baby Sunscreen Stick is super-convenient to stash in your purse or in diaper bags so you always have sun protection on hand. Its non-chemical formula is PABA-free and offers SPF 30+ with 80 minutes of water protection and both UVA and UVB protection.
It glides on smoothly and is noncomedogenic and hypoallergenic, so it’s safe and enjoyable for the whole family to use. The stick works well for spots that consistently need reapplication, such as ears, face, and nose, and works well in combination with other natural sunscreens.
Purchase this sunscreen stick on California Baby’s website, www.californiababy.com, for $14.99 or at stores like Whole Foods, Target, Ulta, and Babies R Us.
Remember, to always wear sun protection every day to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Some general tips to always remember are to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before you go outdoors and apply liberally with 1 ounce on face, neck, arms, and legs.
If you’re in the water or sweating, reapply every 40 minutes and always reapply at least every 2 hours. Other sun protection will help you as well, including sunglasses, a hat, and clothing.
Always be sure to check your sunscreen to make sure it has not expired. It usually lasts two to three years.
Eco18 is a collective of creative-writing individuals from different backgrounds with a common goal—to live a healthier, more natural lifestyle. Their combined expertise, humor, and opinions explore green and sustainable in a practical, fun way.
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