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Most States Ban Sunscreen in Schools – Did You Know?

by Will / March, 15 2017 01:30

Open red door leading to a school hallway

A little known fact, all sunscreens (or sunblocks if you call them that) are considered over-the-counter (OTC) drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This has many consequences. One is that in almost all states sunscreen can’t be given to students. Interesting right? Read on…

Why States don’t Allow Sunscreen in School

It’s simple – all sunscreen (or sunblock) is considered an over-the-counter (OTC) drug by the FDA. So it’s classified the same way as ibuprofen, cough medicine, anti-histamines, and every other OTC drug you’d find in your local pharmacy. Not the prescription stuff behind the counter, but the stuff in the medicine isle.

So just like any of these medicines, sunscreen is not given to students without the permission of a doctor. It’s also why you should avoid DIY-sunscreen. The FDA heavily regulates sunblock so you know it’s been tested and proven effective.

Even though the explanation is simple, it still can sound a little odd. It certainly did to me the first time I read about. But sunblock isn’t the only product many of us don’t realize is considered a drug – toothpaste and antiperspirant are examples I was unaware of.

The easy way to tell is to look at the packaging. If it has a “Drug Facts” section on the label, then it’s considered an OTC drug.

How Many States Forbid Sunscreen in School

As recently as 2012, 49 out of 50 states did not allow teachers, nurses, or any employee to give or apply sunscreen to kids. 49 out of 50 – that’s a lot. California was the only state that said otherwise.

Since then we’ve seen a few states change, or attempt to change, their laws. This list is not meant to be comprehensive, so check with your school administrators even if you live in one of these states:

What You Can Do About It

In most states the solution is relatively simple – get your kids a doctors note. Now, I can’t guarantee that will work in every state so make sure to check first. You may have to provide the sunblock yourself too. Of course if you live in one of the states that recently passed a law, your kids are good to go.

Want to Know More?

Check out some of our other Suncare Smarts articles for topics like why sunscreen is a must even in the winter, how sunscreen prevents cancer, and why sunscreen is the true anti-aging product (hint: prevention is key).

And if you want to talk to your teen, here’s a powerful video to show along with research-backed tips on how to convince them sun protection is important.

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