Though many people may not have realized it until reading today’s front page Washington Post article, sunscreen products sold in the US are not reflective of the latest innovations and science in understanding how best to protect people against harmful UV rays from the sun. But it is true – the last time a new sunscreen product was approved for use in the US was in the 1990’s, not because scientists and companies haven’t been innovating, but because applications for approval of new products have been collecting dust on the shelf at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Hopefully, things are about to change for the better. Last Thursday, a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress introduced the Sunscreen Innovation Act to jumpstart the sunscreen ingredient review process at the FDA so the American public can have access to the most innovative, effective sunscreen products. If the bill moves forward and becomes law, Americans may finally be able to purchase sunscreen products which have been on store shelves for years in Europe, Asia, Central and South America.
For the past two decades, the FDA process for reviewing new sunscreen ingredients has stalled due to needlessly complex regulations. The resulting backlog has ground the review process to a halt.
Shockingly, the most recent sunscreen ingredient to receive FDA approval dates back to the age of the dial-up modem.
The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) is committed to reducing the toll of melanoma, the deadliest of all skin cancers. We routinely urge people to know their risks and take steps to reduce those risks, including avoiding exposure to UV radiation and the damage it causes to the skin. We have worked to improve the safety and efficacy review of new sunscreen innovations that offer essential protection from hazardous ultraviolet (UV) rays. As a leading member of the Public Access to Sunscreens (PASS) Coalition, MRA has engaged with Congress and the FDA to address the current standstill in a process that is clearly broken.
The need for the most advanced and effective sunscreen products is clear, especially during a time when the deadliest skin cancer, melanoma, is increasing in prevalence. Each year more than 9,800 Americans die of melanoma – that’s one person every hour. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with more than 2 million Americans diagnosed every year. Exposure to UV rays is a leading cause of melanoma and other skin cancers.
Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays offers incredible benefits, preventing sunburns, skin aging, and reducing your risk of skin cancer. Experts recommend you protect your skin with the regular usage of sunscreen that is:
1) Broad Spectrum
2) Water Resistant
3) SPF 30 or higher
You can dramatically reduce your risk of skin cancer with the proper use of sunscreen, and hopefully you’ll soon be able to purchase the most cutting-edge sunscreen technologies as Congress, the FDA, the PASS Coalition, and MRA work to enact this bill into law. Be sure to follow MRA for updates as we track this bill’s progress.