FDA approves sunscreen product containing previously banned ingredient

August 4, 2006

Washington -- In a move considered by many to be long overdue, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a sunscreen product that contains Mexoryl, an ingredient considered to be more effective than other filters in protecting the skin against the sun's potentially damaging UVA rays.

Washington - In a move considered by many to be long overdue, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a sunscreen product that contains Mexoryl, an ingredient considered to be more effective than other filters in protecting the skin against the sun’s potentially damaging UVA rays.

Called Anthelios SX and made by France-based cosmetics company L’Oreal SA, the sunscreen has been licensed for use in Canada and Europe since 1993. Before its approval of Anthelios SX, the FDA has refused to approve any product containing Mexoryl, generically known as ecamsule.

Many dermatologists as well as the American Academy of Dermatology have been supporters of Mexoryl because of its effectiveness against UVA rays, which penetrate the skin’s lower dermal layer and can generate a greater risk of developing skin cancer than can UVB rays. The latter rays commonly cause the skin to redden and burn but are considered less dangerous than UVA rays.

It has been reported that Americans have been purchasing sunscreens containing Mexoryl over the Internet and through other foreign sources, and that some U.S. pharmacies have stocked such products “under the counter” and charged as much as $50 a tube for them.

L’Oreal says it will begin marketing Anthelios SX in the United States later this year. According to the FDA, LaRoche-Posay will distribute the product.