Sunscreen active ingredients, which are compounds that absorb, scatter or reflect ultraviolet (UV) light, are regulated as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA is currently addressing requirements for UVA coverage in sunscreens and considering sunscreen labeling changes to help the public make knowledgeable decisions about protecting themselves from the dangers of the sun. The American Academy of Dermatology currently awaits the FDA's final ruling which is tentatively expected in October.
Dermatologists recommend the use of broad spectrum sunscreen products to protect against UVA and UVB rays. They rely on the FDA to confirm the safety of the products. Since allergic and other reactions can occur, individuals should read the product's labeling carefully, use as directed, and seek the advice of their dermatologist in using sunscreens and any product applied to the skin.
Scientific evidence supports the beneficial effects of sunscreen usage when used as one component of a daily photoprotection regimen. Sunscreen is an important tool in the fight against skin cancer. To prevent skin damage from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, dermatologists recommend generously applying a water-resistant broad-spectrum sunscreen of an SPF 30 in conjunction with wearing protective clothing and seeking shade.
Unprotected sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma. More than 1 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year.
The American Academy of Dermatology will continue to monitor scientific evidence in this area.
American Academy of Dermatology