FDA issues sunscreen guidelines

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is loosening its grip on sunscreen.

The FDA issued a series of guidelines Tuesday aimed at speeding up the review process for sunscreen manufacturers, some of whom have waited decades for their products to be approved.

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In the long-awaited guidelines, the FDA requests data from maximum-use trials to determine whether the active ingredients in sunscreen are absorbed into the body.

“Sunscreens are intended to be used on a regular basis in liberal amounts and over large portions of the body surface whenever consumers are exposed to the sun,” the FDA wrote in the Federal Register. 

“And yet some sunscreen active ingredients may be absorbed through the skin into the body, making it important to complete studies in humans to determine whether, and to what extent, consumers’ use of sunscreen products as directed may result in unintended, chronic, systemic exposure to these ingredients.”

This stems from requirements in the Sunscreen Innovation Act.

The FDA also recommended alternatives to sunscreen, such as finding shade and wearing hats, clothing and sunglasses to avoid exposure.

“Sunscreens are a valuable tool for sun safety and public health, but of course, are not the only tool,” the agency said.