By Mary N. DiZazzo

Burning Topic-New FDA Rules on Labeling Sunscreen

Ciao bella,
Well we’re halfway through summer and all us sun worship queens are grateful to the Food and Drug Administration. Last month they released long-awaited sunscreen regulations with new labeling indicating reliable info on product protection—ironic how the sun in so many ways can be so healthy and yet so deadly.

The FDA wants to inform and educate the consumer that they are protected against both ultraviolet-B (UVB) and ultraviolet-A (UVA) rays. The labeling now on shelves gives the sun-protection factor on its labels indicating only the level of protection of UVB rays, which mostly causes sunburn. Both UVB and UVA rays are known to cause wrinkles and skin cancer.

The new rules will be out in a year. A sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum” will be required to protect against both sets of rays. And the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) will be the “number” to the degree of protection against the UVB and UVA rays. For those sunscreens that don’t offer enough protection, a warning label will be required to carry a mandatory statement that the product hasn’t been shown to protect against skin cancer! These rules are a long time coming!

Many sunscreen products on the market bear a label “broad spectrum” that only protects UVA rays. Broad Spectrum will have to mean protection of both kinds of rays.

The new FDA ruling is also requiring companies to eliminate terms like “water-proof” and “sweat-proof.” In the future these products will need to pass a test for water resistance in order to keep a water claim on label. The FDA in a separate proposal is considering to make SPF 50 the max value since there is not enough data for higher SPF products. They will also be looking into “sunscreen sprays”—whether or not it offers as much SPF protection since consumers spray themselves so lightly.

So sun loungers pay attention to your labels and stay protected from old man sun!

Buona giornata and God bless the United States of America!

--Mary N. DiZazzo-Trumbull

Read prior weeks' "All That Zazz" columns at Mary is a third-generation cosmetologist and a Massachusetts distributor of Kosmea brand rose hip oil products. She may be contacted at (978) 470-8183 or