Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rules for Sunscreen Advertising

After 33 years of inaction, last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally established new rules for advertising sunscreen lotions. Under the new rules, sunscreens with less than 15 SPF protection must include a warning label stating that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early aging. In addition, in order to be allowed to claim “broad-spectrum” protection the product must protect equally against UVB radiation, which causes burning, and UVA radiation, which causes wrinkling; both UVB and UVA rays increase the risk of cancer. Finally, words like “waterproof” and “sweatproof” will no longer be allowed, as no product is truly waterproof or sweatproof. But manufacturers will be allowed to advertise the length of time that the product is “water-resistant”, provided that the claim can be backed by test data.

The new rules are being hailed as a significant advance by most dermatologists, who will now have an easier time deciding which sunscreens to recommend to their patients. The new rules go into effect in one year.

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