Figuring out which sunscreens reduce your risk of skin cancer, sunburn and early skin aging may be easier now than ever. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, requires sunscreen makers to follow new rules regarding the way skin protection is described on suncreen labels.

Reynold Tan, PhD, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration interdisciplinary scientist, says this is the first major overhaul of sunscreen labeling in more than 30 years. “It’s pretty much been an open field,” says Tan, who is in the agency’s nonprescription drug office.

The FDA recommends people use sunscreen that is broad spectrum, which provides protection against both ultraviolet A rays and ultraviolet B rays, with sun protection factor, or SPF, of 15 or higher, combined with “other sun-protection measures, such as limiting time in the midday sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and wearing  protective clothing including hats and sunglasses,” says Tan.

The labels should prove especially helpful to those with autoimmune conditions and/or arthritis who have increased sensitivity to the sun either because of their conditions and/or as a result of medications such as some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and methotrexate, which can make the skin more susceptible to damage.

Rheumatologists urge people with autoimmune diseases such as lupus also called systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE, and those taking medications that cause photosensitivity, to use a sunscreen with an SPF,of 30 or higher.

“TheFDA guidelines are important for people with photosensitivity from conditions such as SLE and for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases that may be treated with medications that increase photosensitivity because they now require the labeling to reflect the level of both UVA and UVB sun protection which both play a role in photosensitivity,” says Soumya Reddy, MD, a rheumatologist and assistant professor of medicine and dermatology at the New York University Langone Medical Center.

“The labeling will educate consumers better on how to use the products and what their limitations are,” says Dr. Reddy. “This will help consumers understand what it is they are buying and what it is that they need.”

Harry L. Gewanter, MD, a pediatric rheumatologist in Richmond, VA, says lupus patients may see the disease flare up after soaking up the sun. “Too much sun exposure can make you sick,” he says.