New labeling requirements for sunscreen

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.--  An independent sunscreen testing laboratory in Winston-Salem says new labeling requirements for sunscreen will help consumers better understand what sunscreen can and can not do.

The FDA now says sunscreens can no longer use the words "sun block" or "waterproof". Instead, they must say sunscreen or water-resistant.

Water-resistant sunscreens must also say if they are resistant for 40 or 80 minutes.

"A lot of companies use to say sun block implying that it blocked everything and that's just not true and nothing is really waterproof in the way of sunscreens, they only delay the wash off of the product," said Joe Stanfield, President of Suncare Research Labs in Winston-Salem.

Stanfield says the new labeling requirements achieve what the FDA wanted by not using language that misleads people and gives a false sense of security.

The FDA also says anything that uses the term Broad Spectrum Coverage must provide protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.

Researchers say people need to understand that even if it is water-resistant once someone sweats or gets out of the water, they must reapply. They also say people need to know sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours even if you aren't getting wet.

The FDA is still debating whether to continue allowing sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) over 50. Researchers say there is no evidence that those sunscreens offer any additional protection. SPF 50 sunscreens block out 97% of rays while SPF 50 only blocks out 98%, SPF 100 only 99%.

Stanfield said people need to remember no matter the SPF sunscreens, "don't block everything."