The Facts about Our Seal of Recommendation Program

The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation is granted to sun protection products that have been reviewed by and meet the specific criteria of an independent Photobiology Committee. The Seal of Recommendation is the only program that requires and reviews laboratory testing on sunscreens that confirms each standard has been met.

To earn the Daily Use Seal, products must have:

  • An SPF of 15 or higher
  • Critical wavelength test results of 370 or higher
  • Acceptable results of both phototoxic reactions and contact irritancy testing on 20 human subjects

To earn the Active Seal, products must have:

  • An SPF of 30 or higher
  • Critical wavelength test results of 370 or higher
  • Acceptable results of both phototoxic reactions and contact irritancy testing on 20 human subjects
  • Proof of water resistance

The Skin Cancer Foundation’s new sunscreen requirements were introduced in June, 2010 along with the launch of the Daily Use and Active Seals. This was one year before the FDA issued its final rule on sunscreens. The stringency of the Seal program surpasses the FDA’s rules by requiring the following:

  • Phototoxicity testing
  • Contact irritancy testing
  • SPF minimums (SPF 15 for Daily Use and SPF 30 for Active)

In addition to sunscreens, moisturizers and cosmetics, the Seal program is open to many sun protective products including: sunglasses and window film, awnings/umbrellas, sun-protective clothing, and laundry products that provide UV protection.

Being able to apply for the Seal of Recommendation program is a benefit of membership in The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Corporate Council. The Council is comprised of companies that support the Foundation’s mission of decreasing the incidence of skin cancer through public education.

There are currently more than 80 companies in the Corporate Council and not all of them have products in the Seal of Recommendation program. The annual membership fee for the Corporate Council is $10,000, and has been the same since the program began in 1981. This fee helps cover the administrative costs of the Seal program and public awareness education campaigns.