The FDA’s Recently (Finally) Released Sunscreen Guidance

FDA Sunscreen Guidance

We keep being asked about the impact of the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) recently released (in 2011) sunscreen guidelines, so here’s a quick overview.

First of all, new testing and labeling sunscreen standards were first proposed by the 33 years ago (yes, you read that right, 33 years ago) and they have been in perpetual purgatory since then without any official action. Industry, consumer, and many different special interest groups, including dermatological societies and cancer prevention foundations, weighed in over the years, but no updates to the rules were ever made over that period by the FDA, despite the fact that improvements to the guidelines were desperately needed.

Yet last week, the sunscreen measures were finally approved! These final regulations will go into effect next month (June 2012).

The major updates include:

Here are the important points to consider:

Unfortunately, many of the ingredients in sunscreen lotions that are unsafe are still on the market and legal and it is going to take a sea-change to have these removed from products. So protect yourself with knowledge and understand for what you should be looking in a sunscreen, what you are actually getting for your purchase, and how the product may or may not be protecting you.

If you use topical sunscreen lotions, the key ingredients are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Make sure they aren’t micronized forms. And be very sure a slew of other chemicals aren’t included in the formulation.

Certain foods with antioxidants can also help promote your skin’s defenses against the effects of sun exposure. A supplement made with antioxidants in foods and plants that support your skin and eyes can also help.

Here’s an overview of the sunscreen situation:

The Limitations And Drawbacks Of Using A Topical Sunscreen

Click here for a post with links to sunscreen recommendations from the EWG:

Sunscreen Hazards and Recommendations From the Environmental Working Group (EWG)

Be safe and smart out there this summer and protect yourself from the sun!