New FDA Regulations On Sunscreen


You were anticipating the return of summer, weren’t you? I couldn’t wait to say goodbye to the layers upon layers of clothes I wore when leaving the house. Though it might feel amazing, those rays are also very dangerous to the skin. I want to inform everyone about proper skin protection during the scorching hot months to come.

First off, let me give you a bit of background on the two types of harmful rays that the sun produces. The sun sends ultraviolet A (UVA) rays and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays through the ozone that can cause harm to our largest organ, the epidermis (skin). The UVA rays are the rays that threaten your youth. These rays can prematurely age your skin by causing aged spots and wrinkles. UVA rays can pass through most window glass so keep this in mind if you are driving for long hours or have spent a lot of time staring out of a window at work. UVB rays cause sunburns, which can then lead to cancer. These rays do not pass through windows.

One point I cannot stress enough is look at the label before purchasing a bottle of sunscreen. Not all sunscreens have the recipe for the makings of a strong protective sunscreen. Some sunscreens do not follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, which is extremely important if you want the best protection available. At the Tiffani Kim Institute, all the SPF products are FDA standard and are specifically made for certain types of skin. TKI carries products that are oil free, water resistant, for sensitive skin, for dry skin and even special sunscreen for babies. I would recommend using a cream-based sunscreen for the face or any area of the body that is dry. If you are applying to a hairy area, gel is the best choice to get an even and quick coverage.

By June 1, there will be a noticeable change in what companies must address on their labels. These changes were decided by the FDA to give consumers a better idea about what they are buying. You will receive more information about the ingredients and what the products will protect against. The product must offer broad-spectrum protection, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15 or higher. Don’t be fooled by anything higher than SPF 50, because after that, amount the sunscreen’s ability to protect your skin doesn’t change. A SPF 15 blocks approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent; SPF 50 blocks 98 percent. I would suggest relaxing in the shade or wearing a stylish hat if you do not want sun exposure.

Make sure the sunscreen is water-resistant. This does not mean it is waterproof. No sunscreen is waterproof, but a water resistant sunscreen will hold up longer if you were to sweat or take a dip in a pool. With the new regulations, each company that offers water resistant sunscreen has to specify the amount of time the sunscreen will hold up. This can be between 40-80 minutes.

You should be wearing sunscreen every day! Even when it is cloudy outside you need to apply and reapply. You might think the sun is not harming your beautiful skin, but you are wrong: 80 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays can pass through those clouds and damage your unprotected skin. Also, don’t be stingy with the sunscreen. The proper amount of sunscreen to cover the entire body is an ounce; envision a full shot glass worth. Don’t be afraid to apply a generous amount. You need to apply every two hours with a 15-minute span of time before venturing outdoors.

One bottle of sunscreen should not last you more than a couple months, but if you are wondering if an old sunscreen you found in your medicine cabinet has lost strength since last summer, do not worry. The FDA requires that all sunscreens must have a shelf life of at least three years. Make sure the bottle has an expiration date or write the date of purchase on the bottle so you know if it is still usable.

Sorry to break it to you ladies and gentlemen, but there is no such thing as safe tanning (well, I guess a spray tan is a safe tan). Do not think that applying sunscreen at the beach is protecting you from all the harmful UV rays. Most people do not understand the harm they are causing to themselves when they lay out in the sun trying to get that perfect summer tan. They are at risk of developing skin cancer every time they expose their skin sunscreen or no sunscreen. Tanning can also become addicting. People who tan regularly are literally aging themselves decades faster than someone of the same age who avoids sun exposure. Their skin becomes the texture of leather because the body is trying to protect itself against the sun’s rays. Who would want to lose the softness of healthy skin to look like that? Please tan within moderation. Do not go overboard with the tanning beds and sun exposure. A little color looks great compared to the leathery wrinkles one gets when excessive tanning comes into play.

For more information, I recommend visiting the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation. They are a great resource and can help with the many questions one might have about skin protection. Remember it is our largest organ and we need to be proactive in keeping a healthy body. Don’t forget that it is important to protect your skin everyday to maintain that youthful glow.

Tiffani Kim

About Tiffani Kim

Tiffani Kim is an entrepreneur, fashion designer, artist and founder of the Tiffani Kim Institute Medical Wellness Spa in Chicago’s River North. Ms. Kim helps you stay youthful and healthy from the inside out in her blog, “Living Well and Beautifully” with advice, recommendations, trends and more.