Since 2002, Americans have not seen a single new sunscreen ingredient pass through the FDA. In fact, 8 new possible sunscreen ingredients are still in the review process, many since 2003. As a dermatologist in sun-soaked Miami, I make an effort to stay on top of worldwide innovations in this industry. Currently, Americans are using products that are inferior when compared with those available in Europe, Asia, and South America.
While ecamsule (Mexoryl™) did receive approval in 2006, L’Oréal is only able to use this ingredient in a few products, which are expensive. Due to high cost, these products are not accessible to most users and surely not for full body application. Tinosorb® is one ingredient that is widely available in Europe, but is still pending FDA approval and not available in the U.S. Other ingredients also on hold at the FDA include:
• Amiloxate (2002)
• Enzacamene (2002)
• Octyl triazone (2002)
• Bemotrizinol (2005)
• Bisoctrizole (2005)
• Iscotrizinol (2005)
• Drometrizole trisiloxane (2009)
The good news is that this past month, the FDA passed the Sunscreen Innovation Act, which will speed up the approval process for new sunscreen ingredients, including the ones listed above.
Until we get some of these new sunscreens, our currently available products are adequate when used properly; use a teaspoon for the face and reapply every 2 hours. Or, bring an extra bag if you travel abroad and buy yourself some sunscreen to bring home.