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February 22, 2019

FDA to update sunscreen regulations to improve safety and efficacy

The proposal will set clear-cut rules for the industry

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it will be update regulatory requirements for sunscreen products by taking a deeper look at the safety and potency of different options available to consumers. 

The increased regulation would require sunscreen companies to list active ingredients on the front of their packaging and limit the maximum SPF on labels to say "60+", according to MindBodyGreen. That limit is noteworthy because there's no evidence that higher SPFs are any more effective at protecting our skin from the sun.

"Sunscreen usage has changed, with more people using these products more frequently and in larger amounts. At the same time, sunscreen formulations have evolved as companies innovated. Today's action is an important step in the FDA's ongoing efforts to take into account modern science to ensure the safety and effectiveness of sunscreens," FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in the FDA's announcement. 

RELATED READ: Skin cancer affects men more than women globally, study suggests

Per Vox, no new sunscreen ingredients have been approved in the United States in nearly 30 years. In fact, the United States is "woefully behind" the higher quality formulations found in Australia, Europe and Canada, Bloomberg reported

The FDA hopes to establish “final monograph regulations” for sunscreen, which is required by the already-in-place Sunscreen Innovation Act, a process that would create official rules for sunscreen manufacturers, reported Outside Online, noting the deadline for the monograph is November. 

The American Academy of Dermatology Association released the following statement, in part: 

"Because sunscreen is an important tool in the fight against skin cancer, the AADA supports any and all regulations to ensure that the public has access to safe and effective sunscreens. … The AAD’s sun protection recommendations are based on the existing body of scientific evidence and current FDA regulations; these recommendations will continue to evolve as the science develops and the FDA issues new regulations. In the meantime, however, it’s important to understand that the proposed rule does not conclude that the sunscreens currently on the market are unsafe."

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