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How to bypass US law to get better sunscreen

Astute Beauty Brains fan, Lisa K, sent us a press release from the Environmental Working Group which asks “Do you want safer sunscreens today? Then tell your representative to vote for the the Sunscreen Innovation Act

According to the EWG, we need more, safer sunscreen options and the FDA should move faster to approve chemical sunscreens. On the flip side the FDA says something like “Hold it – we can’t approve these ingredients yet because we need more safety data.” Let me get this straight: the EWG is arguing that we should expose people to chemicals that haven’t been properly safety tested? Has the world gone topsy turvy?

Better protection with the Sunscreen Innovation Act

Not really. The problem lies in the way the U.S. regulatory system is set up to approve sunscreen actives. You see, in the U.S. sunscreens are drugs and therefore have to go through a longer approval process than in Europe where they are treated as cosmetics. It’s a case of good intentions gone bad, apparently, because European countries have more, and more effective, sunscreens to choose from. For example, there are currently 8 new (to the  U.S.) sunscreen ingredients awaiting approval and they’ve been stuck in the approval process for about 5 years. These are important ingredients because some of them do a better job of absorbing UVA rays which are the ones that cause most skin cancers.

The new proposed law (the Sunscreen Innovation Act aka HR 4250) proposes a more streamlined approval process which would require the FDA to act on these 8 ingredients within one year. And any future new ingredients would have to be evaluated within one and a half years.  Of course no one’s advocating using untested chemicals on our skin but since 2 million per year are diagnosed with skin cancer it makes sense to take a faster look at ingredients from other countries when they have years of in market safety data.  All things considered we think the Environmental Working Group is making the right argument, this time.

How to find a better sunscreen

If it’s not too late by the time you read this you can click the link above to tell your representative to got for the new sunscreen law. (Oops, too late – it was just announced that the law passed!) But what can you do if you want better sunscreen protection RIGHT NOW? There’s a little secret we’ll let you in on. You can find one of these superior European sunscreen ingredients in the U.S. right now if you know where to look. Next time I’ll tell you the sunscreen secret that “bypasses” the U.S. laws.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Christina Reid July 30, 2014, 4:29 pm

    It’s kind of annoying that the title of the article is “How to bypass US law to get better sunscreen” but we just get left with an “i’ll tell you next time” at the end. The title should be “Why the US doesn’t have better sunscreen”.

    • Randy Schueller July 30, 2014, 4:58 pm

      Good call Christina. We originally planned on putting everything into one long post but decided at the last minute to break it into two parts – but we didn’t change the title! Sorry for the annoying-ness.

  • Marguerite July 31, 2014, 7:45 am

    Wait, the EWG is being sensible? Is it April Fool’s Day again?

  • Stacy July 31, 2014, 11:51 am

    I can’t believe the EWG is actually pushing for more chemical sunscreens. First time I’ve ever been on board with them.

  • Ally E August 5, 2014, 8:25 am

    remember 3-4 years ago when this website was popular and useful? now 1-3 comment for each article and the forum is dead. shame :(

    • Randy Schueller August 5, 2014, 10:27 am

      Um, are you saying that the information we provide is no longer useful? Or are you just lamenting the fact that we’re less popular? I hope it’s not the former! If it’s the latter, we have had a rough couple of years because our ranking was hurt by the last few Google updates and in late 2013 our site crashed and we lost everything. That REALLY hurt our traffic.

      The good news is that we still have loyal fans (like yourself, I hope) who still enjoy our content.

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