Go to AAD Home
Donate For Public and Patients Store Search

Go to AAD Home

The American Academy of Dermatology statement on the safety of sunscreen

ROSEMONT, Ill. (May. 22, 2019) —Statement attributable to AAD/AADA President George J. Hruza, MD, MBA, FAAD

“Recent accounts of the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed sunscreen rule incorrectly suggest that many sunscreens currently on the market do not meet safety requirements of the FDA. In fact, only two ingredients were proposed to be unsafe —PABA and trolamine salicylate — and these are no longer available in the U.S.

The American Academy of Dermatology is reminding the public that sunscreen remains an important way to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Scientific evidence supports the benefits of sunscreen to prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States.

The FDA is updating regulatory requirements for over-the-counter sunscreen. The FDA is asking for more data on certain ingredients to find out to what extent the skin absorbs these ingredients and if absorbing sunscreen has any effects on the skin or body. This does not mean that the FDA is expressing concern about sunscreen ingredients, nor have they concluded that any of the sunscreen ingredients sold in the U.S. are unsafe. A recent FDA paper, which found absorption of four ingredients, supports the need for additional data. The ingredients tested in the study have been in use for several decades without any reported internal side effects in humans, and the study authors concluded that the public should continue to use sunscreen.

As dermatologists, we know that unprotected exposure to the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form. Sunscreen can help protect the public from harmful UV rays —making it a vital tool in the fight against skin cancer.

To protect your skin and reduce your risk of skin cancer, the AAD recommends that everyone seek shade; wear protective clothing, including a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses; and generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to exposed skin. If you have questions about how to select a sunscreen for you and your family, talk to a board-certified dermatologist.”

About the AAD

Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 20,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), Instagram (@AADskin1), or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).