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Sluggish FDA Keeps Better Sunscreens Off the U.S. Market

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New Sunscreen Ingredients Used Abroad Would Make It More Effective

It’s no secret that going outside with no sunscreen on, even during cloudy days, can result in serious skin damage over the long-term.  In fact, a recent study found that white women who experienced just five blistering sunburns between the ages of 15-20 had an 80% increase in the risk of developing melanoma.  In recent years, the FDA had also classified indoor tanning as a carcinogen, meaning that the agency considers it as bad for your health as smoking cigarettes.  Now sunscreen manufacturers are pushing the FDA to speed up the approval process on sunscreen ingredients already in use in products sold abroad but that haven’t been approved for inclusion in U.S.-manufactured sunscreens.

Better Sunscreen Ingredients Used in Other Countries 

More effective sunscreen ingredients are already in use in European countries, but the FDA has stalled on approving those same ingredients for use in U.S. sunscreens.  Skincare experts are calling on the FDA to streamline the process so that consumers can have access to the same quality of sun protection in their sunscreens, and they may be getting their wish soon.  In fact, Congress is currently reviewing an act that would require the FDA to make rulings on sunscreen ingredients within 9 months.  The last new sunscreen ingredient approved by the FDA was in 1990 and eight ingredients have been waiting for approval for the past 10 years.  The primary problem is the way that sunscreens are classified in the U.S., as a drug, whereas in European and Asian countries they are considered a cosmetic.

Skin Cancer Booming in U.S., Prompting Frustration With FDA Sunscreen Approval Process

The FDA says that it is also frustrated with the current approval process in place for sunscreen, but this isn’t the first time that the agency has been criticized for its sluggishness in the sunscreen debacle.  Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., with some estimates suggesting that two million Americans are diagnosed each year.  In comparison to other countries, where sunscreen manufacturers have a choice between about 27 ingredients, U.S. manufacturers have only about 16.  Having better, more effective products on the market would definitely help to alleviate this problem.