News Room

Statement by Beth Jonas, PhD, Chief Scientist Personal Care Products Council In Response to Consumer Reports’ 2017 Sunscreens Report

May 18, 2017


Contact:  Lisa Powers, (202) 466-0489 or Jewel Jones, (202) 454-0302

Washington, DC – “As summer approaches and consumers become more likely to consistently include sunscreens as part of a safe sun regimen, they can be confident that sunscreen products, when used in combination with other practices such as wearing sun protective clothing and avoiding the sun during peak hours, are safe and will help protect them from skin cancer, premature skin aging, and other damaging effects from the sun.

Consumer Reports recently released a new review, where they score sunscreen products based on their own internal testing criteria.  It appears that their testing methods are not consistent with those used by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  Therefore, their testing methods are not the same as those required of product manufacturers to assign the SPF designation.  We recognize their shared goal to educate consumers on the importance of suns safety as well as easy steps to properly apply sunscreens.  We do, however, caution consumers that the results of the Consumer Reports testing cannot be directly compared to a label claim. 

“The FDA regulates all sunscreens as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and requires rigorous testing for sunscreen effectiveness (both SPF and Broad Spectrum).  FDA's sunscreen testing requirements are publicly available and well recognized by experts and regulatory authorities in the U.S. as well as globally.

“All sunscreens in the United States must be tested for SPF performance using the same FDA designated clinical tests. No matter what the active ingredients, all FDA-approved sunscreens work by scattering, reflecting or absorbing UV rays.  There is no difference in efficacy between sunscreens with organic or inorganic actives; they all must be formulated to achieve their SPF label claim.

“We encourage consumers to consider the following tips for sun safety:

  • Avoid the sun during the peak hours of 10:00 am- 4 p.m.
  • Wear sun protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV protective sunglasses
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, even on a cloudy day
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating
  • Visit your healthcare professional every year for a skin exam

"Our goal is to help consumers make informed decisions and use sunscreen as an important part of an overall safe sun program.  Daily use of sunscreen is a crucial step in the fight against skin cancer and premature skin aging.  It is our hope that using sunscreen becomes as much of a habit as putting on your seatbelt.”  

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Based in Washington, D.C., the Personal Care Products Council is the leading national trade association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry. Founded in 1894, the Council's 600 member companies manufacture, distribute, and supply the vast majority of finished personal care products marketed in the U.S.  As the makers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on every day, from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, lipstick and fragrance, personal care products companies are global leaders committed to product safety, quality and innovation.