UVA radiation is made up of long-wave rays that penetrate deeper into the skin while UVB rays are shortwave rays that cause sunburn and other minor skin damage.
The rules to not apply sunscreen to babies under 6 months will continue because their skin is much thinner, so they absorb more sunscreen. The recommendation for babies is to use clothes and other methods to shield them from the sun.
Some people have expressed concerns that sunscreens are “poisonous” and that the FDA should address those concerns. Henry Lim, M.D., chair of dermatology at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital and chair of the science and research council of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) stated, “The risk of not applying sunscreen is greater than any the risk of any toxic chemical being in sunscreen.”
Dr. Lim addressed what is known about three of the main components in sunscreen. He stated that studies have not confirmed claims that: (1) retinyl palmitate, a vitamin A derivative, causes cancer, that (2) oxybenzones cause hormonal side effects, nor that (3) nanoparticles in sunscreen have been found to pass through the skin into the bloodstream.
Other precautions like wearing clothes and hats for additional skin protection, and staying out of the sun during the peak times of the day between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., should still be practiced in addition to sunscreen use.
The FDA recommends people use broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher. However, the AAD (American Association of Dermatology) recommends broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreens with an SPF of at least 30.
Questions and Answers: FDA announces new requirements for over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreen products marketed in the U.S. FDA: U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved May 12, 2012. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSa...
FDA Announces New Sunscreen Rules-'Broad Spectrum' Means UVA Plus UVB Protection. WebMD. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
FDA’s New Sunscreen Rules: FAQ.