Sunscreen Safety: The Reality

Despite recent claims about sunscreen safety, consumers should rest assured that sunscreen products, and specifically the ingredients oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, are safe and effective when used as directed. Sunscreens should be considered a vital part of a comprehensive sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade, covering up with clothing including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses and avoiding tanning and UV tanning booths.

Sun protection is essential to skin cancer prevention –about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

When shopping for sunscreen, consumers should look for The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation, which is awarded to sun protective products that meet stringent criteria for safety and effectiveness. The Foundation’s volunteer Photobiology Committee – dermatologists with specialized knowledge on how the sun affects skin – review test results of all products which apply for the Seal of Recommendation. The Foundation requires that testing be done on human subjects; it is the only organization which reviews scientific testing results for sunscreens. Any analysis of sunscreens based on computer models for measuring UVA and UVB coverage can only be classified as “pseudo-science”.

For more information on how products are awarded the “Daily” and “Active” Seals of Recommendation, please click here.