While Congress enacted the Sunscreen Innovation Act in 2014 to modernize and streamline sunscreen ingredient approval in the US, a significant number of American sunscreens are still lagging behind.
Why American Sunscreens Suck
Video Source: Sience Insider
This is due in part to the limitation on the amount of active ingredients approved for use by the FDA - only 16 compared to 27 in Europe - which limits the range and effectiveness of SPF products sold in the US.
In addition to these ingredient limitations, the UVA protection requirement imposed by the FDA is not strict enough. UVA penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB. Yet, many American sunscreens labeled as “broad spectrum” block UVB rays but don’t block UVA rays effectively.
The FDA is currently undergoing a review of sunscreen regulations. As part of this process, it has proposed a series of changes focused on improving the safety and effectiveness of SPF products. These changes include:
For the first time, proposing that active ingredients in sunscreens be sufficiently tested to determine the rate of absorption through the skin and the health impacts that may result from exposure to those ingredients.
Based on existing test data, the agency’s proposal recognizes as safe and effective just two ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
To guard against common SPF misconceptions, the agency proposes limiting products’ SPF claims to 60+. Higher sun protection factor values have not been shown to provide additional clinical benefit and may provide users with a false sense of security.
Changes to the broad spectrum test are needed to ensure that sunscreens provide more UVA protection.
All spray and powdered sunscreens should be tested to ensure they cannot be inhaled deep into the lungs, where they could do irrevocable damage. In pilot testing, the agency found that three of 14 sprays would not meet its proposed standard. EWG recommends that consumers avoid all spray and powder sunscreen products.
Other changes included banning sunscreens and bug repellent combination products, improving product labelling and ensuring that all products with an SPF over 15 provide UVA protection.
At this stage, the changes proposed by the FDA are only focused on effectiveness and the safety of active ingredients. It doesn't look further into other potentially harmful ingredients present in sunscreen formulations.
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The EWG 2019 Sunscreen Buying Guide
Video Source: Time Health
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has recently released the 2019 annual report on sunscreens. It includes 130 Moisturizers With SPF That Meet EWG's Criteria. This guide provides a list of brands and SPF products that are both non-toxic and effective.
Here is an example of what a product page looks like. It shows the overall score for Ao Skincare 6000x Elemental Screen with SPF 30, as well as its ingredients ratings, potential health concerns and the UVA protection level offered by this sunscreen.
More About EWG VERIFIED™ 6000X Screen with SPF 30
“Right off, I want to say that from a cosmetic and comfort perspective, this is the best sunscreen that I have ever encountered.” - INDEPENDENT REVIEW
This multifunctional sheer lotion that simultaneously protects skin from all types of environmental stress (UVA, UVB and oxidative damage) – while helping repair the skin with New Zealand Red Algae (Astaxanthin), a super-antioxidant up to 6000x stronger than Vitamin C.
- Zinc Oxide - A proven natural, non-sensitizing and safe UV block.
- Red Algae (Astaxanthin) - It’s the most powerful natural antioxidant known – 6000x stronger than Vitamin C. Helps prevent the oxidative damage to skin after exposure to UVA rays.
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) - Helps prevent skin aging, dryness, acne, rosacea, uneven skin tone and skin cancer.
- Ferulic Acid - Helps prevent the propagation of free radicals, while protecting skin from sun damage.
Mānuka Honey - A naturally bioactive, anti-microbial compound that nourishes and draws precious moisture deep into the skin, while encouraging rapid tissue repair.
+ Retain the skin’s natural oils
Harakeke Seed Oil - Contains fatty acids that are attributed with repairing, moisturizing and soothing damaged skin.
Take a look at 6000X Elemental Screen's full list of non-toxic ingredients here.
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