Sunscreen innovation “coming up against a regulatory wall”

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Sunscreen innovation “coming up against a regulatory wall”
Regulation is limiting essential sun cream development, according to segment expert Dr Jack Ferguson, managing director of sun care specialists Skinnovation. 

Speaking at a recent industry roundtable, at which he was dubbed ‘Mr Sun Care’ by fellow industry professional and president of the Society for Cosmetics Scientists, Ferguson suggested innovation in sun care is lacking at the moment in the area of UVA protection in products making anti-aging claims.

The sun care developer went on to suggest that this gap will be difficult for researchers to plug, as innovation is now “coming up against a regulatory wall​”. Sitting down with Cosmetics Design, he here explains the hurdles further.

UVA protection lagging

According to Ferguson, the chronic effects of UVA light are not yet catered for in the sunscreen category, where the focus at present remains directed heavily onto SPF claims, which mostly block UVB light.

Using a sun product with an imbalanced UVA/UVB ratio could mean that the skin may be exposed to more UVA than it would have been without using the sun product at all, as the SPF provides protection which could enable a longer exposure to the sun​,” Ferguson told this publication.

In many cases, the UVA protection is unknown to the consumer, which is anomalous due to the anti-aging nature and claims made for these product​s,” he said. “Some manufacturers are now indicating the level of UVA protection on day care products, but most still rely on the SPF to support anti-aging claims.”


Barriers now in place, such as the animal testing ban and strict toxicological regulation restraints, mean “new sun screens coming in will have a very tricky time​,” Ferguson noted.

The animal testing ban “isa stumbling block that will prevent advancement and improvements in sun protection unless we have major movement in alternative tests, or the cosmetic classification of sun products change​,” the industry expert predicted.

The ban, the new international ISO standard requirements, and the extensive regulatory compliance demanded by the FDA, each present big hurdles for sun care innovation.

In an example of this ‘regulatory wall’, the FDA recently decided that the scientific record for the active ingredient ‘amiloxate’, which blocks UVB radiation, is not sufficient for the ingredient to be recognized as safe and effective. 

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