US pharmacy RiteAid launches very high SPF sun care product

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

The new SPF 70 Sport formulation answers consumers’ calls for increasingly high SPF values in sun care products, RiteAid claims.

Rx Suncare Sport SPF 70 and Rx Suncare HairGuard are two of the newest products to join the pharmacy’s own brand sun care range and will be available in selected states including California and Nevada before being rolled out nationwide in April.

According to the pharmacy chain, increasing levels of melanomas and insufficient use of sun care products has led a number of physicians to advise higher SPF products to their patients.

“Many consumers use either too little (less than 1 oz) or too infrequent applications of sunscreens,”​ explained a spokesperson for RiteAid.

The company has earned the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation which claims that SPF products above 50 can have real value in certain cases including for very fair skinned people, people with skin cancer, individuals with suppressed immune systems, and those on certain medication.

Proposed cap on SPF 50

However, the difference in protection levels provided by products gets lower as the SPF values increase, which has led some to question the value of SPFs above 50.

For example, an SPF 30 provides 96.5 percent protection from the sun’s rays explained the Skin Cancer Foundation. This goes up to 97 percent with an SPF of 45 and a 97.5 percent with an SPF of 70.

In the 2007 monograph on sun care from the FDA, the regulatory organization proposed capping the SPF at 50; products providing a protection of more than SPF 50 would be labelled SPF 50+.

However, the Skin Cancer Foundation has said that although the differences in protection percentage may seem small they will make a difference in certain light sensitive individuals and those with a history of skin cancer.

The FDA’s updated monograph is planned for release later this year; along with SPF notes it is also expected to give more guidelines on the UVA protection a product must provide.

“While a rating system for UVA has not been established by the FDA, it is anticipated that the photostable filters would achieve the highest possible requirement,”​ the spokesperson told USA.

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