After months of encouragement, I finally got my husband into the habit of applying sunscreen every day. Every time I see the paper-white marks of cream on his dark beard, I think I’m halfway there.
Wanting to avoid the whitening, heaviness and stickiness common to many sunscreen products available in U.S. drugstores, some Americans, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, They take matters into their own hands and choose sunscreens manufactured overseas. In a recent interview, he said he alternates between “Biore” in the summer and “Beauty of Korea” in the winter. The two Asian brands use active ingredients that are not approved for use in the United States.
“This technology is very sophisticated,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “It doesn’t feel like you’re applying sunscreen, it feels like you’re applying moisturizer, so it’s easy to use.”
While sunscreens are regulated as cosmetics in major skin care hubs such as South Korea, Japan, and the European Union, they are under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. All medicines sold to American consumers must be FDA-approved, and sunscreens “purchase themselves as medicines,” meaning they can prevent sunburn, reduce the risk of skin cancer, and slow premature skin aging. That’s why the agency regulates FDA as a drug. Over-the-counter drugs.
The FDA last approved a new active ingredient for use in sunscreens more than 20 years ago, and it sometimes feels as though the rest of the world has overtaken the United States in developing new sunscreen formulations and protocols. You may. Skincare influencers on TikTok and Instagram are almost always enamored with exciting new products and innovations that you won’t find anywhere else on American shelves. There are currently 14 of his sunscreen filters that have been approved for use by the FDA. We employ over 30 people in the European Union.
Frustrated by the seeming abundance of attractive sunscreen options abroad, skincare-conscious Americans are quick to blame the FDA for delays in approving new active ingredients. However, Ocasio-Cortez said authorities, at least not entirely, do not take responsibility for the robbery.
“I think the assessment here is that Americans need sunscreen and they have sunscreen,” she says. “Is there anything else we can do to break this impasse? Yes.”
He said Congress had begun a “preliminary and early process” to consider what a better approval process might look like. This is a way to encourage manufacturers of sunscreen filters to do the right research and development to submit drug information to the FDA for approval.
“I think it’s also very important to maintain a certain level of rigor when it comes to safety,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We want to make sure that this is not an advocacy for deregulation of these filters.”
Many of the sunscreen ingredients that have been in foreign sunscreens for decades and have been favored by consumers for their ease of use are still awaiting FDA approval. For example, the UV-filtering compounds amiloxate, enzacamene, and octyltriazone have been stuck in the FDA’s regulatory pipeline since at least 2003.
In November 2014, President Barack Obama signed into law the Sunscreen Innovation Act. The law gave the FDA five years to approve or deny the use of new sunscreen ingredients, including several that have been under review since 2002. In 2019, the FDA reaffirmed the safety of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in mineral sunscreens and asked manufacturers for more information about 12 ingredients. other materials.
“They said they could continue to sell and use their products, but we need more data,” said Thomas F. Myers, executive vice president of legal and regulatory affairs for the Personal Care Products Council, a trade group representing cosmetics manufacturers. I want to know,” he said. and personal care products. Myers said as long as the FDA continues to delay finalizing a product, the product will remain eligible for market use.
The 2020 CARES Act included changes to the over-the-counter drug approval process.
Under the new procedure, the FDA has asked manufacturers for more information about new sunscreen filters, effectively remanding the cans and bottles to manufacturers, but not outright refusing approval. The 14 chemicals brought forward from 2019 to 2020 to meet the CARES Act are currently the chemicals allowed for use.
In a statement, the FDA said it was committed to “facilitating the marketing of sunscreen products containing additional over-the-counter sunscreen actives.” “To that end, the FDA is relying on the industry to submit the necessary data to determine the safety and efficacy of these ingredients,” he continued.
Skin cancer remains the most common type of cancer in the United States, according to Dr. Steven Q. Wang, chairman of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Photobiology Committee, but alarming prevalence is rising with new sunscreen filters. It is not due to a lack of
Wang said the current incidence of skin cancer in the United States is the result of the past 50 years. Even today, the new diagnosis is a remnant of the 1950s lack of awareness of sun damage and the tanning and tanning bed culture of the 1980s and his 90s.
“Sunscreen is just one part of the overall protection,” says Wang, who is also a member of the Coalition for Public Access to Sunscreens. what about the other part? Avoid the sun during the strongest hours of the day, seek shade, and wear protective clothing.
U.S. sunscreen manufacturers have “done a very good job of taking existing UV filters to create better, better sunscreens to protect the American public,” he added.
While there are many potential solutions, the onus is on Congress to provide maximum sun protection to Americans, Ocasio-Cortez said, with President Obama signing the Sunscreen Innovation Act into law in 2014. The issue has not received much attention since then, he added.
“The issue does not appear to have gained enough recognition in Congress to create the political momentum needed to make things a priority,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “What I am very excited about is the seeming increase in awareness among the public about this issue.”
She seeks to promote that political momentum through various platforms. Posting a video on Instagram on Thursday, the congressman told his 1.5 million followers that “sunscreen in the United States is far behind the rest of the world,” adding, “Here in the United States, we It should be better,” he added.
Online, influencers are becoming more outspoken about sunscreen, developing their own uses, and creating videos of them trying one brand after another to determine which brand works best on their skin. ing. Targeted new brands like Black Girl Sunscreen hit Target’s shelves. Americans are also expanding their choices when it comes to the sunscreen they want to use.
“I think it also creates the kind of political, popular and cultural momentum that we really need to make change around these things,” said Ocasio-Cortez. Ta.
“I don’t think this is the left/right flash point,” she added. “I think this is what everyone needs.”
Circa 2023 New York Times