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US Introduces New Guidelines for Over the Counter Sunscreens

The FDA has asked for better labelling, more information about the SPF and safer ingredients.

Published
Health News
2 min read
If you’re in the US, looks like your sunscreen shopping is going to become easier and safer.
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If you’re in the US, looks like your sunscreen shopping is going to become easier and safer. The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) of the country has decided to introduce new guidelines for the sale of sunscreen which it shared on Thursday 21 February. They include pointers like how to apply sunscreen, sunscreen for infants, how to store it and how to read the labels and what they mean.

The US has a Sunscreen Innovation Act under which it regulates the sale and safety of the non-prescribed sunscreens that are sold over the counter.

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Use Sunscreens, Say Experts, But Read Labels

Two ingredients which the FDA proposal did not put on the list of safe and effective ingredients inlcude PABA and trolamine salicylate. If a product does come along with these as its ingredient, it would be considered a new drug and would have to undergo a new process of FDA approval before it can enter the market.

The sunscreen manufacturers have also been given a list of 12 ingredients for additional testing.
The sunscreen manufacturers have also been given a list of 12 ingredients for additional testing.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

The sunscreen manufacturers have also been given a list of 12 ingredients for additional testing. The proposal concluded that there isn’t sufficient data available for these ingredients to be concluded safe and appropriate for usage. Several of these ingredients have been in use in the US for at least 20 years, cited a media report. The ingredients which can continue to be marketed without additional testing include zinc oxide, titanium oxide and sunscreens sold as sprays, oils, lotions, creams, gels, butters, pastes, ointment and sticks, according to the same report.

However, experts advise, that the fear of unsafe ingredients should not keep people from wearing sunscreen at all times.

Labelling, SPF and Spectrum Protection

The guidelines further mention pointers on labelling, sun protection factor (SPF) and broad-spectrum details. The maximum SPF level labelling would be increased to 60+ and any product with an SPF of 15 or greater is supposed to also offer broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays.

The labelling is also supposed to become more consumer-friendly with clearer information on both the back and front sides of the product.

(With inputs from CNN.)

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