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There will also be a mandatory drug facts box on the back or side of all sunscreen products. Only a sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher and has the broad-spectrum label will be able to state that it reduces risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. If a product is SPF 2-14 or is not broad spectrum it will only be able to claim that the product prevents sunburn. In addition, the drug facts box will state that sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours to insure effectiveness. The terms “sun block”, “water proof”, and “sweat proof” will be eliminated, as these claims are misleading. A product can advertise, “water resistance” (40 or 80 minutes) if the product passes testing. There is also a proposed regulation that sunscreens with greater than SPF 50 will be labeled 50+. Lastly, the vehicle via which the sunscreen is delivered determines whether the product can be marketed without further special approval. Oils, creams, lotions, gels, butters, pastes, ointments, sticks and sprays are eligible for inclusion. Wipes, towelettes, powders, body washes and shampoos will need special approval. There is also further study of sprays regarding safety and effectiveness. As we prepare for spring, it’s time to think about how to maintain healthy skin while still having fun outdoors. Sunscreens are only one part of a complete sun safety program. Organizations including the American Cancer Society, American Academy of Dermatology and The Skin Cancer Foundation also recommend the use of sun protective clothing, seeking shade, and limiting exposure during the high sun intensity hours. For further details on the new sunscreen regulations visit www.fda.gov/sunscreen. For information regarding correct sunscreen application, expiration, vitamin D and other sunscreen issues, visit www.aad.org. by Lisa Abernethy Christman, MD, FAAD, Abernethy Dermatology

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