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Summer’s Here, So Make Sure You Know The New Sunscreen Guidelines

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Your skin products may not do what you think. 

The FDA has mandated new labeling on all products claiming to shield your skin from the sun — lotions, sprays, makeup and even lip balms. Banned are fuzzy buzzwords such as “sunblock” and “sweatproof” in favor of more accurate, research-backed terms that give consumers a clear sense of how well the product protects against UV-induced skin damage and skin cancer.

Here are some changes you’ll see this summer:

No sunscreen is truly waterproof or sweatproof, so manufacturers can no longer use these words on the bottle. In its place is “water resistant,” meaning that the product starts to wash away after either 40 minutes or 80 minutes.

Sun protection factor
An SPF of 60 barely blocks any more UV rays than an SPF of 30. Since the difference is so small, the FDA has now banned SPFs above 50+ to avoid misleading the public.

Drug facts
It contains a list of the product’s active ingredients, warnings about potential dangers or interactions and basic directions.

Sun protection measures
To remind consumers that sunscreen isn’t foolproof, all products with an SPF of at least 15 will now advise that wearing long sleeves, a hat, sunglasses and stay out of the midday sun, when UV rays are strongest, will also cut back on your skin damage odds.

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