Friday, June 01, 2012

Just when you thought you knew SPF

Sun Protection Factor—that mysterious measurement we have all gotten confused about for years.

Well, the FDA changed it and the new value is coming out this summer…now. For some companies…maybe.

OK—in the old system, SPF of, say 15, meant you could use it and stay in the sun 15 times longer before becoming pink and burned than you could if you didn’t use anything.

Now, the number also measures not only the burny UVA rays but UVB—the skin cancer and aging rays. Thus, the term broad spectrum, which also used to be used but sort of in a cheating way by adding some little dab of something.

Is this clearing this up for you? Bottom line—to be broad spectrum, the lotion must really fend off UVBs, not just pretend to.

And if it’s above SPF 15 and truly is broad spectrum, it will say “Reduces risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.”

Also—the waterproof and sweatproof stuff—well, it never was, and won’t say that anymore.

SPF 100—kind of not true, either. You won’t see that anymore. SPF 50 is about the best it can be.

But some manufacturers will still say 100—because the FDA did not say they couldn’t.

OK—have a nice weekend.

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