National Standards for Sunscreen Protection

Each country has its own standard for sunscreen protection. It can be very difficult or confusing to understand what each sunscreen standard means because there are no international standards for rating protection factors. Regulations vary widely. The USA regulates sunscreens as a drug with FDA rules. Outside of the US, other countries regulate sunscreens as cosmetics. Categories and definitions for rating systems are not universal. There is no standardized method for determining UVA protection. Protection rating systems do not offer a common ground for comparisons. Concentration of active ingredients and combinations of ingredients are regulated by national standards. Labels and exact wording for manufacturer claims are specified by national regulations.

Advocates have complained (and continue to complain) that standards are not strong enough. New standards are proposed and eventually standards are adopted. Check for regulation updates for current standards.

Australia and New Zealand

Australia first published a standard for sunscreen products in 1983. The joint Australian and New Zealand standard is AS/NZS 2604:1998 'Sunscreen Products Evaluation and Classification' ARPANSA developed the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating system for fabrics, which was used in 1996 to form the basis of the Australian and New Zealand Standard for sun protective clothing.

Fact Sheets and FAQs about UV and UV Protection (sunscreens, clothing, windows, etc.)


Health Canada has information on ultraviolet exposure, the risks of prolonged exposure to the sun, measures to protect yourself and your family, and the UV Index Sun Awareness Program 


Japan uses SPF rating to measure UVB. 

Japan uses the “PA” classification system used throughout Asia to measure Protection Grade of UVA.

PA+ some UVA protection
PA++ moderate UVA protection
PA+++ good UVA protection

A Guide to Sunscreen in Japan provides Japanese words for choosing a sunscreen and the ingredient lists.


The European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (Colipa) instituted a voluntary guide for standards of developing and promoting industry standards on testing, labelling and consumer education. The Colipa standards indicate the importance of both UVA and UVB sunscreen protection. The European Commission system considers High SPF protection at SPF 30 and SPF 50, and Very High protection at SPF 50+.   The cosmetics industry regulations require the level of UVA protection provided by a product be at least 1/3 ratio of its SPF for products to meet the SPF/UVAPF ratio and eligibility for putting a UVA symbol on a product. 


“What factor sunscreen?” from NHS Choices, June1, 2011 


On June 14, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced new requirements for sunscreens. The FDA changes make allowance for “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen products that provide UVB and UVA protection. 

Consult with your physician regarding any treatments or medical advice suggested by this website. 
We are not physicians, we are people trying to learn about our conditions and better our lives. We try to be accurate, but the articles and advice may have errors, become out-of-date, or even give bad advice. 

 We highly recommend that you try anything new in moderation, 
to test for any reaction you might have. 

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