Sunscreen Symposium Day Two: Diverse Outlooks Engaged


After meeting and conversing with hundreds of individuals on day one of the 2015 Sunscreen Symposium, hosted by the Society of Cosmetic Chemists’ Florida Chapter at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, day two started with a couple of speakers and ended with a roundtable discussion.

Coalition Efforts and a Word from the FDA

Olga V. Dueva-Koganov, Sc.D., Ph.D., senior principal scientist, BioMaterials, Ashland Specialty Ingredients, explained to attendees what the Public Access to SunScreens (PASS) coalition was and talked about its efforts to support sun care innovation in the United States. The PASS Coalition was formed in 2013; a few of its efforts include:

  • Sending press releases,
  • Meetings,
  • Political outreach,
  • Press/social media,
  • Meeting with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA),
  • Sunscreen Innovation Act (SIA) implementation and
  • More.

Dueva-Koganov also explained how the United States is the second large retail market for sunscreens and has 17 sunscreens approved by the FDA, yet only eight are utilized. In comparison, the European Union has 27 sunscreens approved and Australia has 29, but the trend lies in Brazil, as it is the leading force for sunscreen, she added. Additionally, she briefed the audience on skin cancer rates dropping between the years 2000 and 2011.

The next speaker, Michelle Walker, Ph.D., interdisciplinary scientist for the FDA, gave insight about the FDA’s perspective with the SIA. The SIA was passed on Nov. 26, 2014, to provide an alternative process for evaluating safety and efficacy of sunscreen active ingredients, which have not been included in the over-the-counter drug monograph sunscreen ingredients. The approval of an SIA sunscreen consists of four guidelines: three procedural and one scientific. It provides a new process for review, which includes creating a timeline for FDA’s review. In the sunscreen review process, FDA can refuse to file an application. According to Walker, FDA is committed to working closely with stakeholders to implement the SIA.

Safety, Labeling and More Debated

Moderated by Dennis L. Lott, founder and president of Lott Research, Inc., co-founder and president of Florida Suncare Testing Inc. and co-founder of UnWined, Inc., and Nadim Shaath, Ph.D., president of Alpha Research & Development, Ltd. and Shaath & Meadows Consultation, the roundtable discussion gave several of the speakers an opportunity to follow up on their previous presentations and explain how they apply to the others.

One of the topics discussed included how to raise the bar and label sunscreen products to address safety concerns. Formulations need to be improved to better meet their SPF ratings and consumers need better education about how much sunscreen they should apply and how often they should apply it. Additionally, sunscreens are not meant to prevent skin cancers, but to protect the skin from the sun’s radiation, which causes them. Another subject matter with a heavy focus was how FDA considers sunscreen a drug rather than a cosmetic. Many people argued and many others agreed with this guideline.

With such diverse views, sunscreen symposium ended leaving attendees wanting more.

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