Reformed Sun Gods and Goddesses from the 1960s and 70s get reminded of their prior status every time they see a dermatologist for a skin checkup. Most people I know have had something cut out of somewhere by now. What looked like a sexy golden tan back then, looks like wrinkles and skin cancer now.
n contrast, young people today were raised with sunscreen, or simply spf-- sun protection factor. Many of them wear it every day, like brushing their teeth. Sunscreen prevents DNA damage that ultraviolet rays inflict on our skin. Some products, manufactured in Europe, contain DNA repair enzymes that actually correct past damage.
The best sunscreens are not made in America. We're decades behind other countries with the UV filters the Food and Drug Administration will allow. That's because sun filters are considered a drug here, and only the largest companies with enormous research and development divisions can afford the lengthy testing and approval process required to pass FDA scrutiny.
We haven't developed a new sun filter in more than 20 years, while other nations which consider sunscreen a cosmetic ingredient, formulate top-notch sunscreens that don't sting the eyes or feel heavy on the skin. Filters like Tinosorb S and M, Mexoryl SX and XL, and Uvinul A Plus have none of the discomfort of our heavy products. Last year, a new filter was developed in Spain-- a leader in anti-aging sunscreens-- UVmune 400, 10 years in the making and patented by L'Oreal, which filters extra long UVA rays. But you won't find it in America. The FDA doesn't allow that one either.
Our sunscreens include zinc and titanium dioxide which block UV rays with a greasy, opaque white film on the skin, as well as the chemical filters: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, and Oxybenzone, all of which sting the eyes like crazy.
The result of all this is the typical American doesn't wear sunscreen each day. Those who do, import European and Asian sunscreens, which increases sunscreen use, but hurts the bottom line of American companies.
It's difficult to say when and if this will change. In the meantime, summer is coming. And there's a world of better sunscreens beyond our shores.