Warning Out on Unauthorized Sunscreen Products

Warning Out on Unauthorized Sunscreen Products

In Photo: Properly using quality and safe sunscreen can help protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays.

Quezon City, (April 12, 2024) – As the sweltering summer heat continues to sizzle, the environmental watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition cautioned consumers against applying unauthorized sunscreen products to protect their skin from excessive sun exposure.

Sunscreens are products that protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, which, if not controlled, can result in sunburns, early skin aging, sagging and wrinkling, as well as skin cancer.

Along with limiting sun exposure and using physical barriers like long-sleeved clothes, long pants, broad-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and umbrellas, the use of sunscreen products is prescribed, especially when working outdoors, hiking, playing, or swimming to avoid the damaging effects of UV radiation.  

However, not all sunscreen products sold in physical and online marketplaces are the same.  Some may lack the required certificate of product notification (CPN) issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates sunscreen products.

Such unauthorized sunscreen products may not contain enough sun protection factor (SPF), may not indicate the date of product expiration, may not list the ingredients on the label or may contain prohibited substances, among other concerns.

In 2023 to date, the FDA issued several public health warnings against the purchase and use of unauthorized sunscreen products such as Glambition Skincare Beauty Products Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF35++, Glowrie Sunscreen SPF40, Perfect Skin All Naturals Tone Up! Sunscreen SPF45, Her Skin Sun Defense SPF45, Kaliya Beauty Sunscreen SPF65+, and Sukee Skin Essential UV Defense Sunscreen SPF50 PA+++.

In one advisory issued last year, the FDA also warned against Flashhskinzz Moist Sunscreen, which was reported in the ASEAN Post-Marketing Alert System (PMAS) as containing mercury, which is banned in cosmetic products.

The FDA has not released follow-up advisories lifting the public health warnings it has issued on the said unauthorized sunscreen products.

To assist consumers in selecting quality and safe sunscreen products and for consumers to avail of the benefits of using such products, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded the public to consider the following recommendations from the FDA:

1.  Verify if the product is notified by using the FDA Verification Portal at https://verification.fda.gov.ph.

2.  Check the label for essential information such as product expiration date, SPF and broad spectrum protective claims, and ingredients.

3.  Don’t skimp.  Apply the sunscreen according to the usage directions and re-apply at least every two hours or as recommended on the product label.

4.  Report to the FDA through info@fda.gov.ph any distribution, sale, complaint, and/or adverse event on the use of non-compliant sunscreens.

Additionally, the EcoWaste Coalition advised consumers to avoid sunscreen products containing ingredients that can harm marine life, particularly the health of coral reefs.

Among these reef-damaging ingredients present in some sunscreen products are oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), octinoxate (octyl methoxycinnamate, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), octocrylene, 4-methyl-benzylidene camphor, and avobenzone (butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane). (PR)