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CVS pharmacies won't sell sunscreens under SPF 15

The pharmacy chain is removing tanning oils and other products that don't meet the FDA's minimum recommendation.
/ Source: TODAY

If you’re old enough to remember Baz Luhrmann’s talky “Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)” from the late 1990s, you’re also probably old enough to have made some mistakes with SPF 4 tanning oil.

Well today, CVS wants to help its customers prevent that, announcing this week that the drugstore chain will only carry products with an SPF of 15 or higher. To replace them, the store is offering more dermatologist-approved options along with natural and organic choices.

Judy Sansone, a senior vice president for CVS, said the decision to stop selling tobacco was a pivotal moment for the chain, and sees the sunscreen move in a similar light, along with removing trans fats from the store’s brand of food products.

“We looked at our sun-care offerings and felt we should offer customers choices for sunscreen that either meets or exceeds FDA standards,” Sansone told TODAY. “When people use SPF below 15, they are not really getting protection from the sun.”

The move is part of “Long Live Skin,” a Dove-esq beauty positivity campaign that includes advertisements where women talk about advice they wish they had given their younger selves. Like Luhrmann, it definitely includes “wear sunscreen.”

While SPF 15 is the FDA’s minimum recommendation against cancer and sunburn, the American Academy of Dermatologists recommends an SPF of at least 30. It’s also key to apply at least 15 minutes before you head outside, and reapply every two hours.

If you’re looking for brand recommendations, Consumer Reports just released their picks of the best brands to buy this year.