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The Skinny on New FDA Regulations for Safe Sunscreen

The sun is a source of pleasure, dating back throughout time. However, the sun is also a source for three different cancers — basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and the deadliest, Melanoma – as well as premature aging, blood vessel damage, skin texture changes, pigmentation changes, and wrinkles. That is why sun protection is so critical. However, up until now regulation on sunscreen was in some considerations a joke that took 30 years to overhaul, and during that time our bodies soaked up the punchline.

Putting the past aside, the FDA made changes that will greatly help to educate about the proper levels of sun protection; levels that we strongly agree with and utilize in our own product, Tikkun Ultra Shield. The following explains the new regulations, information on sunscreen and cancer and what you should demand from the products you buy.

Covering the Whole Broad Spectrum


The Change: Previously, sunscreen companies had no restrictions on claims of Broad Spectrum protection. Now companies must test both UVA and UVB to get the distinction. Products that don’t meet a Broad Spectrum standard will have a warning that the product prevents sunburn but not cancer or aging.

What does that mean?

Most sunscreens have only ever printed the protection against UVB rays, and not the more harmful UVA. By requiring testing across a Broad Spectrum, the FDA is requiring companies to inform percentages on both. This change is long overdue for a country riddle with different cancers.

UV, or Ultraviolet, refers to the different wavelengths that reach our skin as rays from the sun. Most understand the idea that we absorb UVA and UVB rays, but do you know the varying effects from each? UVA are the rays that scramble DNA. UVA causes premature aging, wrinkles and arguably more cases of cancer than UVB, which are the rays causing our skin to turn red. UVB only comprises about 1% of the sun we absorb.

Very few sunscreens on the market today protect across the entire Broad Spectrum to fight cancer and aging in addition to giving you the perfect tan. What makes Tikkun Ultra Shield different from other brands is that we use protection from four different spectrums of light to formulate large, over-lapping molecules that bond with the top layer of skin forming a protective shield against both UVA and UVB light.

Word of caution, beware of products claiming Broad UVA Protection. This definition of broad means varying protection across the UVA spectrum, not our definition which is complete protection across the vast UVA and UVB spectrums.

SPF: Sun Protection Factor

The Change: Only sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher can claim to lower the risk of cancer. The SPF number will cap at 50 unless the company can provide results proving a higher distinction necessary.

What does that mean?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. This factor is a measurement of how long a person of light skin color can stay under a UV light source, be it the sun or a tanning bed. A critical piece of information that most people don’t know is that after an SPF of 35, the increase to protection percentage is so insignificant that a higher SPF number is a useless classification.

Tikkun SPF 20 – as all sunscreens should – gives you 70% protection against UVA rays and 92% protection against UVB rays. The SPF 35 has even higher percentages. An SPF higher than 50 really only indicates a denser or thicker cream, not a significantly higher protection. The FDA made the right decision to cut out this wasteful marketing.


The Change: Companies can no longer use the 4-star rating on bottles to indicate UVA coverage.

What does that mean?

The star rating that some companies use needs to phase out for the more complete Broad Spectrum coverage monitoring, which will measure both UVA and UVB protection. Both spectrums affect our bodies, so we must monitor both.



The Change: The FDA now prohibits sunscreen claims to “waterproof” or “sweat proof” which are said to be exaggerations of performance.

What does that mean?

The degree to which a product can claim waterproof or even resistance depends on the stability of the product’s molecules. Sunscreens made from smaller or weaker molecules literally fall apart when frequently rubbed or after extended exposure to moisture. Tikkun Ultra Shield continually earns top marks because our large molecules weave a tight bond with the top layer of skin.

Want to do a simple test to determine the integrity of your sunscreen? Apply a normal amount of your brand to the palm of your hand and allow the recommend 20 minutes to dry. Next, cup the hand on which you applied the sunscreen and place a few drops of water in your palm. If the water becomes cloudy then your sunscreen has broken down on your skin’s surface. A strong sunscreen will keep the water clear. That breakdown occurs with every brush of the hand, wipe of a towel or dip in the pool. We demanded that our sunscreen products maintain strength inside or out of the bottle, which means the sunscreen will bond with your skin properly.  


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