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Sunscreen is Finally Entering the 21st Century

Sunscreen is the worst. Well, I guess the harmful effects of NOT wearing sunscreen might be even worse. So let me rephrase that: sunscreen can be irritating to put on, always greasy and waste everyone’s time. And yet, it is so important that we wear it more regularly than we do. This summer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) might give us a sun solution or two. The FDA may soon have the tools to improve the effectiveness and convenience of sunscreen.

This summer, the FDA may approve new sunscreen ingredients that have long been protecting European and Asian nations from UVA and UVB rays. If you were to purchase sunscreen in Germany, for instance, a combination taken from a list of at least 27 ingredients might be used. Comparatively, the U.S. allows for only 16 different ingredients. The difference is based purely upon sunscreen’s classification.

Sunscreen: The Drug vs. Cosmetic Debate

The FDA has a rather time-consuming approval process for all sunscreen ingredients that is in line with okaying pharmaceutical drugs. This severely limits the number of ingredients you will find listed on the Coppertone bottle. In contrast, most European and Asian nations categorize sunscreen as a cosmetic, and this allows for easier approvals.

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The bipartisan Sunscreen Innovation Act is making its way through the U.S. Congress and would force the FDA to make new ingredient decisions quickly so the sunscreen-wearing public may have greater accessibility to life-saving sun protection. More than 2 million Americans are diagnosed annually with skin cancer, and this is why skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. If the FDA makes sunscreen ingredient decisions more rapidly, there is a chance that manufacturers might have a greater ability to guard people against deadly melanoma and other forms of the disease.

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