Regardless of the extent of awareness now surrounding the importance of sun protection, melanoma rates climbed drastically from 1970 to 2009—increasing by 800% among young women and 400% among young men, according to the Public Access to Sunscreens (PASS) Coalition—which makes it more common than all other cancers combined. Therefore, it has never been more crucial for consumers to understand the latest regulatory policies regarding the labeling of SPF products for sun protection.
Sunburn is primarily caused by ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, but officials note that skin cancer and early skin aging are caused by both UVB and ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation. In recent years, the FDA has increasingly taken both of these forces into account to establish new sunscreen testing and labeling requirements, designed to help consumers make more informed decisions about their sunscreen products.
To help determine a sunscreen product’s ability to assist in reducing sun-induced skin damage, the FDA has established two efficacy tests: the SPF Test, which measures the level of sunburn protection provided by the sunscreen product (i.e., UVB protection only); and the Broad-Spectrum Test, which measures the UV absorbency of the sunscreen product across UVBand UVA wavelengths.
The FDA further states that only products that are broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher are allowed a claim for decreasing the risk of sun-induced skin cancer and early skin aging—if used as directed with other sun protection measures, which include avoiding the midday sun and wearing protective clothing.
The PASS Coalition stands for the Public Access to SunScreens Coalition. The PASS Coalition is a multi-stakeholder coalition of public health organizations, dermatologists, sunscreen ingredient companies and concerned citizens who will work collaboratively with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the White House and Congress to establish a timely and transparent framework for approval of the next generation of UV active filters for Over-the-Counter (OTC) sunscreens. Contact your Member of Congress and urge them to support establishing a timely approval process for sunscreen products at the FDA. To find out who your Member of Congress is, please visit the following websites:
Contribution by Tracy Morin/DaySpa Magazine