Also soon a thing of the past: the terms "waterproof, "sweatproof" and "sunblock". According to the FDA, these terms overstate the effectiveness of such products. Likewise, the FDA is also proposing regulations that would cap SPF ratings at "SPF 50+". According to the FDA, there is not sufficient data to conclude that products with SPF values higher than 50 provide additional protection.
Until new regulations take effect, make sure you're using a true broad spectrum sunscreen. In combination with UVB protectants (homosalate, octyl methoxycinnamate, and oxybenzone are commonly used) one or more of the following UVA absorbers should be listed under "active ingredients":
- avobenzone (aka. Parsol 1789 or butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane)
- ecamsule (Mexoryl)
- titanium dioxide
- zinc oxide
- Tinosorb (only available outside of the US)
Of course, the best sunscreen in the world isn't going to protect you if you don't use it correctly. Here's a quick tip to make sure you're protected. You've probably heard that one shot glass full of sunscreen is the necessary dosage for the average body. This means one ounce, applied every two hours (or more often if you're swimming or perspiring).
To make sure you're using enough product without literally toting a shot glass to the beach, take a look at the ounceage on your bottle of sunscreen and multiply it by two so you can see how long the bottle should last you. For instance, an 8oz bottle of sunscreen only provides enough product to protect one person for about 16 hours- less than 2 full days in the sun. If it lasts longer, you're not using enough! My last piece of advice: buy cheap, use lots, and stay safe!