How to Read the New Sunscreen Labels

Since I live in southern California I wear sunscreen all year around. Even Little Pumpkin Doodle knows that when she plays at day care to ask for sunscreen before she heads outside. Since summer is around the corner, I thought it was time to purchase new sunblock.

I must have read 10 labels before purchasing two for LPD, Kiss My Face SPF 50 and Alba Botanica SPF 40. Between the two I like the Kiss My Face better, since it flowed from the pump easier than Alba Botanica, but overall thought they were both quality products, until I received an FDA email on sunscreen.

If you haven’t heard, the FDA has new sunscreen regualtions going into effect in June. Here’s what you should be looking for on labels:

  1. Only the term SUNSCREEN can appear on a label. The word sunblock can no longer be used because it exaggerates its strength.
  2. BROAD SPECTRUM a previously unregulated claim-now means that a sunscreen has undergone testing to ensure that it provides against both skin-burning, cancer causing UVB rays (those included in SPF rating) and skin-aging, cancer causing UVA rays.
  3. WATERPROOF and SWEATPROOF are no longer acceptable, since according to the FDA they’re false claims. A  WATER RESISTANT claims must list how long the sunscreen can stand up sweating or swimming (either 40 or 80 minutes, based on testing).
  4. Only sunscreens with a SPF of 15 OF HIGHER that have passed the broad spectrum test can claim to reduce the risk of premature again and skin cancer anywhere on the packaging. If a sunscreen has an SPF below 15, or has not passed the broad-spectrum test it can claim only to help prevent sunburn.

Now armed with new information I studied the claims on the Kiss My Face and Alba Botanica sunscreens and here’s what I found:

Kiss My Face has it wrong! (Keep in mind I purchased the sunscreens two weeks ago, and the FDA regulation doesn’t start until June 2012)

1. Kiss My Face claims to be Ultra Sweat Resistant, states UVA/UVB protection, but doesn’t say it it has gone through testing to ensure that it provides against skin cancer and skin-burning.

Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen DOES IT RIGHT!!!!

  1. The bottle only labels the product as sunscreen, broad spectrum (so I know it has been tested), water resistant and also lists that its good for 80 minutes in the water and is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

If you’re ready to purchase sunscreen make sure and read the labels carefully and bookmark this posting for reference.

Hope you’re having a great day and thank you for stopping by.

Do you wear sunscreen or go without it? If you don’t wear it, what’s stopping you from applying it?

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