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Get the Scoop Behind the FDA’s New SPF Regulations

Every summer, the prospect of choosing a sunscreen inspires the same set of questions: How high should I go SPF-wise? Which ingredients are safe? What does “broad spectrum” really mean? This year, we have a little help from the experts themselves: the FDA just released a new set of SPF regulations designed to help consumers choose wisely. The agency has been monitoring sunscreen labels since 1978, but this marks the first time they’ve stepped in to overhaul the way the industry labels its products. Although the changes technically went into effect this past Monday, don’t expect to see them kick in immediately—in order to prevent a sunscreen shortage, the FDA is allowing stores to continue selling existing bottles of SPF. Large companies will have a year to update their labels, while smaller companies will have two years. 

Click through for a brief rundown of the new guidelines:

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Skin Rx: Fun with SPF! Five Sun Things You Didn’t Know

Eugene Schueller, the found of L’Oreal, and the brains behind the first modern sunscreen.

Now, you’re probably tired of hearing all about SPF. But why not have some fun with everyone’s favorite (and most necessary) summer product? This weekend, in between hot dogs and dips in the pool, I pulled up some fun facts about the sun. Here, some sun-related numbers you probably didn’t know.

1. 7800 BC: Egyptians created a sun-protection oil made out of castor beans. This was the first form of SPF. Gee, those Egyptians thought of everything!

2. 1920s: Decade Sunbathing became popular in the United States. This challenged a common belief that a tan came from working, not leisure.

3. 1936: Thanks to chemist Eugene Schueller, the found of L’Oreal, the first sunscreen as we know it was created! This was the first among many amazing products L’Oreal would provide consumers.

4. 1970: Mattel provided young children with the “Sun Lovin’ Malibu Barbie” & “Sun Lovin Malibu Christie dolls”, with sun-tan lines! I don’t know how much I like this because it promoted tans but I suppose it’s a cute fun fact!

5. 1700: the ultraviolet protection number in a pair of jeans. You can find me in a full jean body suit this summer!

—Rachel

Find out more fun sun facts here.