Drugs

Sunscreen

The ABCs of sun protection

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Spending time in the sun increases the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. To reduce this risk, consumers should regularly use sun protection measures including:

  • Use Broad Spectrum sunscreens with SPF values of 15 or higher regularly and as directed
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, more often if you’re sweating or jumping in and out of the water.
  • Limit time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.
  • Wear clothing to cover skin exposed to the sun; for example, long-sleeved shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brimmed hats

See Sun Safety: Save Your Skin! for additional information on sun protection, including tips for applying sunscreen.

In June 2011 FDA announced significant changes to sunscreen products that will help consumers decide how to buy and use sunscreen, and allow them to more effectively protect themselves and their families from sun-induced damage. For more information about these changes, see Questions and Answers and FDA Regulatory Action on Sunscreen.

Not all sunscreen are created equal. Listen to the reasons why some work - and others don't.

This video outlines the new steps FDA is taking to protect consumers from sun damage to the skin.

FDA Sheds Light on Sunscreens - (JPG v2)

A sunscreen with broad spectrum UV protection and SPF 15 or higher is one skin-protecting tool. High-res versions of this graphic—and another on products with less protection—are available in PDF5 or via Flickr6.

Additional Consumer Information

FDA Regulatory Action on Sunscreen

Page Last Updated: 09/03/2014
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