FDA Proposes New Sunscreen Regulations to Provide Consumers with Better Info

A woman in a sunhat lying on a beach chair facedown.

Photo: Pixabay

Concerns about the safety and efficiency of sunscreen have been debated among scientists, naturopaths, beauty editors and the general public for decades. Now it seems that, south of the border at least, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking to improve how sunscreens are rated and to prove their safety.

The FDA has announced a new proposal for sunscreen regulation via a media release. “This significant action is aimed at bringing nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreens that are marketed without FDA-approved applications up to date with the latest science to better ensure consumers have access to safe and effective preventative sun care options,” the release reads.

Among its provisions, the proposal addresses sunscreen active ingredient safety, dosage forms, sun protection factor (SPF) and broad-spectrum requirements. It also proposes updates to how products are labeled to make it easier for consumers to identify key product information.

Specific proposed FDA regulations include:

  • Rigorous assessment of the safety of active chemical sunscreen ingredients.
  • New testing requirements to improve the broad spectrum and UVA protection.
  • New label requirements for sunscreen products to help consumers more easily identify key active ingredient information on the front of the package.
  • A requirement of additional testing of spray sunscreens to reduce the potential harm from inhalation.
  • A prohibition on insect repellants in sunscreen products.
  • A cap on high SPF claims at 60-plus.

Health Canada provides its own sunscreen tips and regulations, which you can read here.