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Updated Sunscreen Regulations (A Safety Sean Update)

Our HVAC contractors know that being outside means being exposed to the sun. Sunscreen has changed a lot in the past few years and I found some great information on the FDA website to share with you. In May of 2011, the FDA changed its rules regarding sunscreen and how it is marketed to consumers.

Water Resistance

Probably the biggest change is that NO sunscreen is water proof and manufacturers are not allowed to label the product as such anymore. Now, some sunscreens are considered to be two categories of “water resistant” instead of “waterproof.” These two categories are based on the amount of time a sunscreen can protect you when it’s wet: 40 minutes or 80 minutes. The product will be labeled with one of these time frames.

Broad Spectrum

Only “Broad Spectrum” labels are allowed to advertise that they help prevent skin cancer. These products will only be sold as a SPF 15 or higher. If the label does not say “Broad Spectrum,” then that product is only able to prevent sunburn. The “Broad Spectrum” label means the product has met the government standards for blocking both UVA and UVB rays.

SPF Ratings

Not found on the FDA site but still very important, the SPF rating does not indicate how strong the product is, but how long it will protect you from the sun’s rays when you are dry (no sweating or high skin moisture like swimming). SPF-15 = 2.5 hours when dry, SPF-30 = 5 hours when dry, and SPF-50 = 8 hours when dry. You should always provide children with a minimum of SPF 45 and re-apply after swimming. If a sun tan is what you are after, a tan can still be obtained wearing sunscreen. It may take a little longer, but that may just means a little more time at the beach (twist your arm, right?)

If sunscreen is not available, then dress in light-colored long-sleeved clothing, wear a wide brim hat and avoid sun exposure between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Schedule your day around the sun.

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