A Message from the President 25.3

You may be aware of a recent report alleging that many sunscreens offer “inadequate” sun protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation takes this claim very seriously, and we dispute it: We consider the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) sunscreen rating methods arbitrary, and its conclusions unwarranted. The truth is, sunscreens have been improving rapidly as new ingredients and processes for blocking UV radiation have been developed.

We worry that the EWG’s message may confuse people and encourage them to avoid sunscreen. We urge readers to continue to safeguard their skin by wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, in addition to following our other recommended protective measures, which you can view by clicking the link to Prevention Guidelines .

The EWG also questioned the safety of the sunscreen oxybenzone. Despite the EWG’s assertions, oxybenzone is a safe and effective UV filter, having been approved, after extensive review, by the FDA, Canada, the European Union, and many Asian countries.

If you are concerned about a sun protection product’s safety or efficacy, look for The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation. All products granted our Seal have:

  • A sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater
  • Validation of the SPF number by testing on 20 people
  • Acceptable test results for phototoxic reactions and contact irritation
  • Substantiation for any claims that a sunscreen is water- or sweat-resistant

Our independent Photobiology Committee, consisting of physicians expert in the effects of solar radiation on the skin, reviews product test results to ensure that submitted products meet the Foundation’s criteria for effective UV protection. A list of products with our Seal can be accessed via the Recommended Products link.

We urge you to continue to use sunscreen, and to stay sun-safe as we head into fall!

Dr. Perry Robins