I Bet You Didn’t Know the FDA Regulates Sunscreens

…American beachgoers will have to make do with sunscreens that dermatologists and cancer-research groups say are less effective and have changed little over the past decade.

That’s because applications for the newer sunscreen ingredients have languished for years in the bureaucracy of the Food and Drug Administration, which must approve the products before they reach consumers.

 …The agency has not expanded its list of approved sunscreen ingredients since 1999. (Washington Post)

HT: Alex Tabarrok.

Comments (16)

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  1. Buster says:

    Heck, far fewer wrinkles and skin cancers would exist if Americans merely used the sunscreen they currently have access to. I went to the gym the other day and witnessed numerous attractive young women who were bronze from tanning. When these women (and men) reach early middle age they will look years older than they are — all so they can look slightly better when they are already young and good looking.

    • Jay says:

      When they are older, they’ll get that baseball glove look.

    • Studebaker says:

      If you don’t believe me, go to Breckenridge, Colorado in the summer. I’m There are many joggers, hikers and mountain bike enthusiasts who have worked out for years in the thin mountain air. Their dark, weathered, wrinkled, leathery faces belie their youth and otherwise very healthy (but rough) demeanor.

  2. Andrew says:

    As a person with fair skin that burns quite easily, I am disappointed in the FDA’s lack of progress when it comes to improving innovations in sun protection. It is vitally important to prevent more damages from skin related cancers.

  3. Ralph E says:

    Bureaucracies are going to be the main cause of cancer if the government continues to delay things that are intended to improve our quality of life. We need to find ways to make our government more efficient. If it takes ten years to approve a product, how can we keep being the leaders in innovation?

    • Buddy says:

      The government is inefficient and stifling innovation, what else is new?

    • James M. says:

      I wonder what is incentivizing the delay? I would think it is in their best interests to not throw an issue like this by the wayside.

      • Frank T says:

        Correct, there must be stakeholders with close ties to the FDA that don’t want to see these new ingredients approved. It is another example of how we are running away from free market. Bureaucracies intervening, hidden interests pursued and plain inefficiency.

  4. Thomas says:

    “American beachgoers will have to make do with sunscreens that dermatologists and cancer-research groups say are less effective and have changed little over the past decade.”

    I wouldn’t call them less effective because it is what we are used to and have used for years. It is just as effective. However, with advancements, sunscreen could be more effective.

  5. PJ says:

    Definitely had no idea that sunscreen was regulated by the FDA!

  6. Eisenhower says:

    Like I said last time, it is a kind of paradox as we cannot completely abandon the whole process. However, all we can do is being more efficient.

  7. Roman M says:

    Just to put things into perspective. Remember the TV you owned in 1999, remember the quality of the image and its size. Now think of the one you own today. What a difference. Technology has advanced tremendously since the turn of the century. By not approving these new ingredients, the FDA is prohibiting the American people to enjoy the wonders of advancements in technology.