Sunscreen Claims: Demystified?

As you know, sunscreen products are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as drugs because they are “intended” to prevent disease (skin cancer). As such, they are required to follow the rules and regulations as mandated by the FDA. Thus, they must use Drug Facts labeling; list the drugs (sunscreen actives) using the proper drug nomenclature; list the percentage of drug used; specify the drug function (sunscreen) and label; warnings and directions for use, etc. If the labeling ended there, then there would be no way the consumer could differentiate among any of the sunscreen products. One SPF 15 product would be no different than any other SPF 15 product. Clearly this is unacceptable!

With this in mind, I took a quick look at the sunscreens currently being sold in my local store and came up with some rather imaginative claims. Following is a very brief list along with some comments.

UVA/UVB protection with “Parsol 1789”or “Z-Cote HP1”: I always find it interesting when a company highlights a particular ingredient by trade name. Do they think the consumer knows what “Parsol 1789” or “Z-Cote HP1” is? I don’t think so. I guess they feel if the consumer sees a trade name it must be special and functional.

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