There’s an 87% Chance That Your Sunscreen Isn’t Considered Safe
Not so fun fact: The FDA hasn't updated its views on sunscreen safety in 40+ years, as Allure.com recently reported.
Now, the FDA has released a new proposal on sunscreen "to make sure that sunscreens are safe and effective." In the statement, the FDA proposes that "of the 16 currently marketed active ingredients, two ingredients – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – are GRASE [generally recognized as safe and effective] for use in sunscreens."
As for the other 14 active ingredients? "[T]he proposal states that there's not enough scientific data on 12 of the ingredients to determine whether they're safe or harmful for humans," writes Rebecca Dancer in the Allure.com piece. "If you're counting, that leaves two ingredients the FDA states are not safe for use in sunscreen products: PABA and trolamine salicylate. However, you generally don't need to worry about either of these." (As far as the FDA knows, there aren't any sunscreens on the market that contain PABA and trolamine salicylate as active ingredients.)
America's Skin Cancer Foundation has stated that it supports the proposal, also noting that "[s]unscreens are an important part of a complete sun protection strategy, but the public should be aware that there are many ways to protect yourself from the sun, including seeking shade and covering up with clothing, hats, and sunglasses." The Skin Cancer Foundation also has a Seal of Recommendation program designed to help consumers as they shop for sunscreen, moisturizers, cosmetics, clothing, etc.
WATCH: A Dermatologist Warns Against Using This Type of Sunscreen
While this FDA announcement is only a proposal and not a formal set of enforceable rules at this point, it's best to play it safe and look for sunscreens with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as the active ingredients, the two the FDA deemed as GRASE.
You can read the full proposal on FDA.gov here. And while you're brushing up on sunscreen safety, check out Sun-Related Revelations Your Dermatologist Wants You To Know.