UVA-Blocking Sunscreen Receives FDA Approval for Sale in U.S.

The sunscreen Anthelios SX has finally received approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Anthelios is made by the French cosmetics company L'Oreal SA, and will be distributed by L'Oreal's brand LaRoche-Posay. The Anthelios formula underwent 28 safety and effectiveness studies before being approved by the FDA.

The sunscreen contains ecamsule or Mexoryl SX, an ingredient better at blocking ultraviolet A, or UVA, radiation than other sunscreen ingredients currently sold in the United States. Mexoryl SX has been patented by L'Oréal, and has been used in the Group's sunscreen formulas sold in Canada and Europe since 1993. Savvy Americans have been purchasing Anthelios for years from Canadian websites.

Sunscreen ingredients currently sold in the United States mainly screen out UVB rays. UVB has long been associated with sunburn, while UVA is recognized as a deeper penetrating radiation, according to the FDA. Doctors suspect there is a link between UVA exposure and longer-term effects, including wrinkles, basal and squamous cell cancers, and melanoma.

'We now have the tools to give U.S. consumers very high UVA protection,' said Alan Meyers, the senior vice president of research and development at L'Oreal USA. The formula is photo-stable, which means it does not degrade from long sun exposure. Anthelios will be available without a prescription this fall at certain pharmacies and doctors' offices.