dsm-firmenich Safer Under the Sun conference spotlights suncare innovation

By Cassandra Stern & Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

© skynesher / Getty Images
© skynesher / Getty Images

Related tags dsm-firmenich Sun care Sun protection Sunscreen Skin health Personal care

Following the success of its first Safer Under the Sun conference, which focused on cancer awareness, dsm-firmenich took the decision to focus the 2023 event on how its current sun care innovation pipeline is gearing up to creating change in the industry

The agenda for the event​, which took place in Washington D.C., was designed to bring about increased awareness of sun care, was while simultaneously stressing the importance of have additional testing methods.

Speakers represented The Skin Cancer Foundation, The PCPC and dsm-firmenich, and presented on topics such as informational statistics and the importance of skin protection, application habits of SPF users in the United States. the current regulatory status of sunscreens, and the need for innovation & modernization, as well as touching on cancer prevention.

Staging the event in proximity to the US Congress was also served to raise awareness about the need for public resources to develop new and alternative regulatory methods to accelerate the introduction of novel UV Filter innovation to the marketplace.

Following up on the successful conference program, CosmeticsDesign-USA (CDU) put some questions to Carl D’Ruiz (CDR), Senior Business Development Manager Science & Advocacy at dsm-firmenich Personal Care to find out more about the points that were discussed.

CDU: How was the reception and attendance for this year’s Safer Under the Sun event?

CDR: The event was well attended, with a larger turnout compared to last year. Congressional staff members, NGOs, Trade Associations, bloggers, and suncare companies were in attendance. The Keynote address, highlighting the importance of preventing skin cancer, was made by Representative Derek Kilmer, Co-Chair of the House Cancer Caucus. Eduardo Ruvolo, Head of Clinical and Scientific Affairs, Beiersdorf, joined our Q&A panel discussion.

CDU: ​What were some of the panel discussion highlights?

CDR: Overall, there was enthusiastic support of dsm-firmenich’s collaboration with the FDA to facilitate approval of a UV filter in the US, for the first time in over 20 years. Still, most felt the process to bring new UV filters to the US market takes too long and needlessly employs the use of animal testing.

There was an energetic dialogue on how best to spur sunscreen innovation, given that there are currently only nine useable actives approved for use in the US, while other countries have over 30 options, some of which are more modern and efficient UV-filters.

There was a great ideation on how Congress might encourage and support the FDA’s adoption of New Approach Methodologies (NAMs), that do not utilize animals. These NAMs are based on modern 21st Century Toxicological safety and risk assessment methods and currently employed by many global regulatory agencies for reviewing the safety of sunscreen ingredients in a more expedient manner.

Concern was expressed that consumers are purchasing and importing more modern and aesthetically appealing sunscreen products available globally over the internet, but not yet approved in the US. One of the reasons is because of consumer confusion on the safety of existing UV-filters in the US. This was seen as something that is currently compromising efforts to market sunscreen in the US.

CDU: ​What were some of the main goals for this year’s event?

Carl D’Ruiz identified four main goals for the event:

• We set out to educate and create awareness about skin cancer’s prevalence, and the measures that can be taken to prevent it here in the US;

• We wanted to inform US citizens on how to screen their skin and detect for risks and to inform people about the Skin Cancer Foundation’s free US skin cancer screening program, Destination Healthy Skin, that is being sponsored by several suncare companies, including dsm-firmenich;

• Creating awareness of US sunscreen user habits and practices, as well as providing an overview of how sunscreens are regulated and approved in the US vs. the rest of the world, while indicating what the status of sunscreen innovation is currently in the US;

• Presenting ideas on how to promote further innovation in the sunscreen industry, and how NAMs may help reduce the time and costs associated with reviewing the safety of new ingredients, without sacrificing safety or efficacy, was part of our ambition.

CDU: ​What were some of the biggest challenges to coordinating and hosting this year’s event? And how were those challenges addressed?

CDR: The success of last years’ event brought the much-needed attention to this important topic. Interest in this year’s event was high. Not all who were interested were able to attend – and we were not able to address every important topic. We consider this an ongoing conversation, and plan to hold a third Safer Under The Sun Day in 2024.

CDU: ​What are the plans for next year’s event?

CDR: We love the opportunity we have to partner with other likeminded players in the industry, to push for further education and awareness on such an important topic. Next year, we can take the initiative and expand further into avenues that are related, such as how best to bring new UV filters to market via novel regulatory approaches.

CDU: ​What kind of progress was seen off the back of this second annual sun care event?

CDR: We were very pleased to acknowledge the ongoing efforts of those in our government with a Skin Cancer Awareness Leadership Award: Congressman Mike Kelly of PA; Congressman Derek Kilmer of WA; Congressman Brian Higgins of NY; and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick of PA.

Additionally, we were enthusiastic about the continued sponsorship of the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Destination Healthy Skin, which has identified 362 suspected skin cancers and precancers, including 21 potential melanomas thus far in this season alone.

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