PCPC Sunscreen Showcase 2024: Innovations, regulations, and the future of US sun care

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

"Despite scientific advancements since Congress passed the Sunscreen Innovation Act a decade ago, the US still trails other countries in adopting new sunscreen filters," shared Thomas Myers, PCPC President and CEO. © Ake Ngiamsanguan Getty Images
"Despite scientific advancements since Congress passed the Sunscreen Innovation Act a decade ago, the US still trails other countries in adopting new sunscreen filters," shared Thomas Myers, PCPC President and CEO. © Ake Ngiamsanguan Getty Images

Related tags Sun care Sunscreen Regulation

We spoke with PCPC President and CEO Thomas Myers about how industry leaders at the recent Sunscreen Showcase are transforming sun care and addressing pressing regulatory challenges in US sun safety.

Recently, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) hosted its Sunscreen Showcase in Washington, DC, to allow sunscreen manufacturers and suppliers to convene and discuss sun care and sun safety innovation. The event featured product exhibitions by leading brands in the space, including Beiersdorf, dsm-firmenich, Kenvue, and L'Oréal, as well as expert presentations covering the critical role of sun protection products in preventing skin cancer, current regulatory efforts in sunscreen, and the need for ongoing research and testing in sun protection.

To learn more about the event and its key takeaways, we interviewed Thomas Myers, President and CEO of the PCPC, for his insights.

About the event

"The Sunscreen Showcase brought together sunscreen manufacturers and suppliers to showcase this critical product category and the impact to public health," Myers began, "highlighting the need for advanced sunscreen formulations to fight skin cancer and protect public health." With increasing numbers of US consumers across age, gender, and racial demographics taking a greater interest in sun protection products to protect skin health, the main focus of the Sunscreen Showcase reflected the current priorities of the cosmetic and personal care product industries as key stakeholders work to meet consumer demand better.

The event was particularly significant as "despite scientific advancements since Congress passed the Sunscreen Innovation Act a decade ago, the US still trails other countries in adopting new sunscreen filters," said Myers. The Sunscreen Showcase, therefore, is a tangible representation of the industry's work to "to close the gap and reduce skin cancer incidence through education and stronger collaboration among the medical community, government, advocates and the personal care products industry," he explained.

Key takeaways

Regarding the importance of sunscreen innovation and safety concerning consumer preference and current market trends, it is essential to note that "the US lags behind other countries, especially those in the EU, in approving new UV filters," Myers explained, adding that "this slow process limits our ability to offer diverse, innovative and cruelty-free sunscreen products tailored to different skin tones and types." He further explained that the process is prolonged because "in the US, sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as over-the-counter drugs, requiring a testing regimen and approval process similar to what is used for prescription drugs."

This means that "while EU consumers enjoy a wider variety of advanced sunscreens, US consumers have fewer options," and "this regulatory holdup in the US is especially concerning given the rising rates of skin cancer," said Myers. As a result, industry stakeholders like "PCPC and our member companies are pushing for improvements to enable us to better meet evolving consumer demands and ensure everyone has access to the best sun protection," he said.

In addition to discussing the current regulatory landscape of sun protection products in the US, the Sunscreen Showcase featured sunscreen products that exemplified innovative advancements. "The products showcased demonstrate our industry's innovation and scientific sophistication in creating safe, effective sunscreens," Myers shared, such as "PCPC member company dsm-firmenich, [who] showcased its ongoing efforts to bring a new UV filter, approved in the EU since 1999, to the US." He clarified that the lengthy approval process is due, in part, "due to changing FDA regulatory approval pathways over the past two decades."

This is despite "the Sunscreen Innovation Act in 2014, [which] promised to expedite the review and approval of new sunscreen ingredients," he added. "We believe the best sunscreen is one people will use, and we are committed to pushing for access to the most advanced and effective sunscreens worldwide," Myers continued. PCPC therefore remains committed to continuing to work with Congress and the FDA to "ensure access to the most effective and innovative sunscreen filters for all skin types and needs," he stated. 

Looking ahead

Following the Sunscreen Showcase's successful conclusion, the PCPC remains steadfast in its dedication to its priorities, which "include continuing to develop scientifically sound non-animal tests, advocating for global acceptance of non-animal safety tests, and ensuring access to the most advanced sunscreen filters," Myers concluded. "This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Sunscreen Innovation Act," he noted, "yet the FDA has yet to approve new filters."

Regardless, he reiterated that the PCPC is "committed to advancing sun protection and consumer health" and, moving forward, will continue to host industry education and advocacy events like the Sunscreen Showcase.                                                                                           

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