Shedding Light on Sunscreen: How Good Is It?

Sunscreen RequirementsWith so types of sunscreen on the market, some blocking UVA rays, other UVB, some that block both…and ratings ranging from SPF 10 to SPF 100…what does it all mean?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just announced some significant changes that will help us figure out how effective sunscreens really are. They will be requiring suncreens to pass a stricter test and protect us from both UVA and UVB rays. Plus, they will no longer be labeled waterproof, since in fact, no sunscreen is really waterproof! Some are just more water resistant than others.

Let’s figure it all out so we know what to look for when new packages hit the stores Summer 2012!

Hiking Lady Breaks Down the Sunscreen Lingo

  • SPF: The SPF value indicates the amount of sunburn protection provided by the sunscreen. Higher values provide more protection. It only indicates how well the sunscreen is protecting against UVB rays.
  • UVA: Ultraviolet A light from the sun. These rays contribute to skin cancer and early skin aging.
  • UVB: Ultraviolet B light from the sun. These rays cause sunburns. Currently, most sunscreens protect us from UVB rays, but only some protect us from UVA rays!

What’s being changed?

The FDA has developed new testing requirements, and sunscreens will be tested for both UVA and UVB protection. The ratings on the bottles will now be “Broad Spectrum SPF X”, with a specific value.

The maximum value will now be 50+, because there is no data available that provides that higher than 50 actually provides greater protection.

How to Really Protect Yourself from the Sun?

Those of us who enjoy the outdoors can spend hours outside… hiking on a trail, climbing a crag, paddling down a river, or even spending time close to home gardening or walking the dog.

Check out this article as well: How to Protect Yourself from the Sun.

Happy trails!

One comment

  1. Donna says:

    This is excellent information. I really appreciate all the research you do for us. Happy Hiking ( sans sunburn 🙂

Comment or Question:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *