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New sunscreen regulations take effect in June

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WILMINGTON -- When shoppers buy their next bottle of sunscreen, they may notice a few changes.

The FDA has new regulations that become effective June 18. Soon, you won't see anything above SPF 50 and you might see the two words "broad spectrum."

"UVB are the rays that typically burn and UVA are the aging rays, they penetrate a little bit deeper, when people look at SPFs they are really only looking at how it protects against UVB," said Dr. Rosalyn George, with Wilmington Dermatology Center. "When it says 'broad spectrum' now sunscreens are going to have to show that they've done testing to protect against UVA as well."

If you find sunscreen that's labeled "broad spectrum" and has a SPF of 14 and below there should be a warning saying it doesn't prevent skin cancer or early aging.

And you'll no longer see water- or sweat- proof sunscreens only water and/or sweat resistant. Plus, on the front label, it will say how long the user can go before they have to re-apply.

"You'll see 40 minutes or 80 minutes, before water resistant meant it was good in the water for 40 minutes and waterproof meant is was good for 80 minutes," said Dr. George.

To avoid a shortage of sunscreen this summer, the FDA is giving manufacturers until December to comply. So what do you do until then? Dr. George said the sunscreen you already have is probably just fine but you have to make sure you apply it properly.

"About twenty minutes before you leave you need to apply sunscreen and then you need to reapply every two hours," said Dr. George. "Also we don't use enough screen, typically you want to use about an ounce or the size of a shot glass."

In the end, what's in the bottle is staying the same, just the labels are changing.

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