What You Need To Know About The Sunscreen Innovation Act

The Sunscreen Innovation Act that’s moving through congress could mean that better UVA protection is in your future.
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The Sunscreen Innovation Act that’s moving through congress could mean that better UVA protection is in your future.

Last week, the senate unanimously passed a bill that could finally bring new sunscreen ingredients to the U.S. The Sunscreen Innovation Act will require the FDA to set a timeline for the review of sunscreen actives that have been waiting over a decade for FDA approval.

According to PASS (Public Access to SunScreens) Coalition, no new over-the-counter sunscreen actives have been approved by the FDA since the '90s. Since 2002, however, eight actives have been submitted to the FDA for review, though none of those reviews have been completed. That same year, the FDA put together a streamlined process to evaluate all those ingredients within 180 days. Twelve years later, and still no dice. The Sunscreen Innovation Act serves as a federal kick in the pants to finally complete these FDA reviews and get newer, better sunscreens on the market.

Meanwhile, many of those eight ingredients awaiting approval have been approved and available over-the-counter in Europe and Canada for years. All the while, skin care fanatics have been pirating them in on the low for long enough to attest to their superiority. Even I’m guilty of bugging friends to smuggle some tubes of Bioderma Photoderm back from their trips to Paris. But it’s about time that American chicas have access to these sunscreens at our corner Walgreens’ already.

Why is this important? Many of these ingredients that have been stuck in The Waiting Place so long that we’re relying on sunscreen science that’s over a decade old--practically ancient in the world of medicine. These new ingredients represent advancements in technology that give newer filters, higher UVA protection, and better photo-stability. The increased protection these ingredients provide could help us better prevent melanoma, which The PASS Coalition says claimed nearly 10,000 lives in 2013. And beyond that very serious and important public health benefit, better sunscreens keep you cute. I personally can’t wait to see what better UVA protection can do for my hyperpigmentation.

When the bill is enacted, the FDA will have a deadline to review the ingredients that have been in limbo, which Senator Jack Reed, one of the bill’s sponsors, says could take up to 11 months. After review and hopeful approval of these ingredients, all of us in the states will be able to get our hands on products containing ingredients like Tinosorb S (Bemotrizinol) and Meroxyl (Ecamsule) like our La Roche Posay toting homegirls in Europe.

Have you ever tried a European sunscreen? More importantly, are you as stoked as I am for all the potential new products to try? UVA protection for everyone!