Beginning next summer, sunscreen users will be able to know for sure that their skin will be protected from both the burning rays of the sun as well as the cancer-causing ones. The phrase to look for is “broad spectrum.” This means that with formulations of SPF 15 or higher, manufacturers must label their bottles “broad spectrum,” meaning that their protection applies to all parts of the sun’s spectrum. In addition to protecting against ultraviolet B rays (think “B” for burning), products must also protect against the deeper penetrating ultraviolet A rays (think “A” for aging).
The new regulations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require manufacturers to test for the more dangerous ultraviolet A rays as well as the ultraviolet B rays that cause sunburn. Also, the FDA has proposed capping the highest SPF value at 50, unless companies can show that their testing proves a higher number to be beneficial.
These new guidelines are designed to enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens and make them easier to use.