The FDA issues new sunscreen rules

FDA looks beyond sunscreen with new rules that encourage healthy sun habits

Last week the FDA proposed complicated new sunscreen rules. The press followed up immediately with a bunch of articles that are too simple. They advise you to choose this ingredient (zinc oxide!). Look for that label claim (SPF > 15, or 20, or 30…). These articles talk about sunscreen, but as a person who enjoys the outdoors, my real question, every day, is how can I enjoy the outdoors safely?

Remember, the FDA only regulates products, not health. And the FDA is keenly aware of the gap between promoting health and their only real tool which is to ban products or make them Rx. The FDA’s announcement concludes with practical health advice, “Sunscreens are only one element of a skin-cancer prevention strategy. Other sun protective behaviors include: wearing protective clothing that adequately covers the arms, torso and legs; wearing sunglasses and a hat that provides adequate shade to the whole head; and seeking shade whenever possible during periods of peak sunlight.”

At Shade we have been helping people learn healthy sun protective behaviors by providing information in the form of a convenient and wearable UV monitor. The fact is that UV is confusing in part because it is invisible. Shade provides accurate real-time information about UV intensity. This is useful for checking on the effectiveness of seeking shade. Shade also adds up the daily dose and sends alerts before the user has had potentially burning levels of sun.

Shade knows that UV is confusing through its clinical research and conversations with customers. It is our experience that the FDA’s advice, which is consistent with what dermatologists advise, is easier to follow with a personal measure and monitor of UV exposure.

Sun exposure is an inevitable part of a healthy active lifestyle. Sunscreen is an important tool to moderate UV risk. Healthy UV behavior that will reduce the risk of skin cancer is a part of a holistic lifestyle built on understanding and awareness.