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What are the banned FDA Sunscreen terms?

Several terms are still used to describe sunscreens that were outlawed by the FDA in 1999. These terms were banned because they provided consumers a false sense of security and wrongly explain what sunscreen does. 

We often see journalists use these terms when writing about sunscreen and this only adds to the general public’s confusion. Sunscreen manufacturers who make any of the claims below are violating FDA laws meant to protect consumers.


Banned FDA Sunscreen Term 1: Waterproof

No sunscreen stays on perfectly 100% in water over time, and so telling consumers it does is misleading. No sunscreen can possibly be fully waterproof or sweat-proof. All products will wash off eventually.


Banned FDA Sunscreen Term 2: Sunblock

No sunscreen blocks the sun entirely, and only provides a relative measure of screening, which always results in some UV exposure.


Banned FDA Sunscreen Term 3: All day protection

No sunscreen performs throughout the entire day, either washing away or photo-degrading (in the case of petrochemicals) to become less and less functional as a protection against UV rays.


In Conclusion

Besides violating labeling laws, use of these terms tends to increase rates of skin cancer and other sun related health issues, since consumers assuming greater protection than actually received expose themselves to longer periods of UV damage.




1. Know your ingredients — Flip over your sunscreen and read the ingredients. We want everyone to know what good ingredients are, regardless of whether they use our products or not. Your health is worth it.

2. Buy safe sunscreen — Waxhead is dedicated to using only the healthiest, safest, most effective ingredients in our sunscreens. Shop Safe Sunscreen here.

3. Teach a friend — If you know someone who might still be buying sunscreen with questionable ingredients, please share this post with him/her.




Banned FDA Sunscreen terms

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