What the New Sunscreen Regulations Mean For You

Look for the entire active sunscreen ingredients spectrum to go through some changes in the near future, thanks to the signing of the Sunscreen Innovation Act by Congress at the end of last year.

On the Horizon
Under the Act, the FDA will do a review of all sunscreen actives to make sure they are safe and effective, as well as evaluate new ingredients that may get the OK to enter the U.S. marketplace for the first time.

New Ingredients?
Bemotrizinol, a chemical sunscreen ingredient that absorbs both UVA and UVB rays, is more photostable than similar ingredients in its category, plus, it doesn’t degrade in sunlight. It’s currently available in Europe and Australia, and, if it’s OK’d and deemed as safe by the FDA, it could pop up in U.S. products in the future.

SPF Standards
There might be a new SPF limit. According to New York dermatologist Michael Shapiro, MD, currently, the FDA has pending regulations preventing sunscreens from being labeled as anything more than SPF 50. “I have been seeing changes in the way sunscreens are labeling their protection level. More brands are now labeled as ‘SPF 50+’ rather than ‘SPF 65.’ If the FDA approves this, you can expect to see more products using this wording.”

But, Some Doctors Have Doubts...
“Unfortunately, the long-awaited new FDA labeling requirements for sunscreen are somewhat disappointing,” says Las Vegas plastic surgeon Goesel Anson, MD. “The old SPF labeling provided labeling for UVB only; the new labeling requires UVB and UVA protection for a ‘broad-spectrum’ label. But, we still don’t know how well products deliver UVA protection.

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