What are the new FDA regulations for sunscreens that were announced today?

For the first time, the federal Food and Drug Administration will require sunscreen makers to prove their product effectively protects against both forms of dangerous ultraviolet rays before they can claim to protect against skin cancer and wrinkles, as well as sunburn.

Starting next summer, consumers will want to look for sunscreens with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of at least 15 that also is labeled “broad spectrum.”

To get that label, sunscreens will have to pass tests showing they protect against not only ultraviolet B (UVB) rays but also the more penetrating ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, which can penetrate glass and pose the greatest risk of skin cancer and premature aging.

Current standards apply only to one part of the sun’s spectrum, the UVB rays, which cause sunburn. That’s what the familiar SPF is based on.

Starting next summer, sunscreens with an SPF of less than 15 or that don’t say “broad spectrum” on the packaging will have to carry a warning label: “This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”