Frequently Asked Questions

  • When will I start to see the the new FDA rules reflected on Neutrogena® products?
  • Although the new FDA sun monograph rules are in effect as of December 17, 2012, sunscreens with new labels are already starting to rollout at stores nationwide. Given the logistics of producing new labels and distributing products across the country, it is likely consumers will see some sunscreens with old labels next to sunscreens with new labels throughout early 2013.
  • Is it OK to use sunscreens that don't have the new labels?
  • Yes. As NEUTROGENA® sunscreens transition to new labels, you can continue to use your favorite NEUTROGENA® sunscreens that have older labels with the confidence that they are safe and effective in protecting against sun exposure.
  • Will the formulas change with the new labels?
  • The new FDA monograph rules require that all sunscreens labeled "Broad Spectrum" must pass a test that measures the breadth of the UV protection, which includes both UVA and UVB. Sunscreens that do not pass the test must either change their formulas or include a warning on the labels stating that the products have been shown only to help prevent sunburn, but not skin cancer or early signs of aging.
  • What is the difference between UVA and UVB protection?
  • SPF measures protection against sunburn caused primarily by UVB, the harmful rays that penetrate the outer layer of the skin to damage skin cells and the primary cause of sunburn. UVA rays penetrate deep into the layers of the skin and are known to lead to early skin aging. Both UVA and UVB rays can contribute to skin cancer. While both UVA and UVB rays are harmful, scientists have found that 80 percent of skin damage from the sun is caused by UVB rays, including certain skin cancers, skin aging and sunburn.
    The new FDA test for a Broad Spectrum claim measures the breadth of UV protection, including both UVA and UVB rays. Products that pass the new test may be labeled as Broad Spectrum.
  • If all Broad Spectrum sunscreens pass the new FDA test, how do I know I am getting the best in sun protection?
  • While all Broad Spectrum sunscreens must meet the FDA standard for protection, not all Broad Spectrum sunscreens are created equal. HELIOPLEX® for example, is a breadth of stabilized sunscreen technologies that goes above and beyond the new standards set by the FDA to provide superior UVA/UVB protection.
    HELIOLPLEX® technology is uniquely formulated with the right balance of UVA and UVB protection to match the damage profile of the sun. HELIOPLEX® is also formulated to be photostable and, unlike some Broad Spectrum sunscreens, will not break down after exposure to the sun. Sunscreens with HELIOPLEX® ensure excellent UVB protection and UVA protection.
  • Can I still wear sunscreen during water activities?
  • Yes — although sunscreen labels will no longer say "waterproof" or "sweatproof," sunscreens will still be able to provide sun protection during water activities. The new rules will require that sunscreen labels state whether the product is water-resistant for 40 or 80 minutes.
  • How do I select the best sunscreen for me and for my family under the new FDA rules?
  • In addition to minimizing time in the sun and wearing protective clothing (i.e., long-sleeve shirt, broad-rimmed hat, and sunglasses), to reduce your risk of skin cancer, early skin aging and sunburn, use a sunscreen daily with Broad Spectrum protection, SPF 15 or higher. For the best in sun protection, look for sunscreens with a proven photostable technology like HELIOPLEX® that are formulated with the ideal balance of UVA and UVB protection to match the damage profile of the sun.
  • I heard the FDA wants to prohibit the labeling of sunscreens with an SPF level greater than 50 — is that true?
  • At this time, there is no FDA ruling regarding whether there should be a cap in SPF value. The FDA proposed there may need to be a cap at SPF 50+ and requested more data and information from the public and industry experts to help their decision. NEUTROGENA® scientists believe that limiting labeling for SPF values higher than 50 may deter consumers from receiving the highest levels of sun protection. The company has submitted data to the FDA supporting the use of SPF values of over 50.