U.S. sunscreens fail to meet standards of European sunscreens

American sunscreens may not meet standards of the European Union, according to a new study published Feb. 24 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Researchers analyzed 20 best-selling U.S. sunscreens with an SPF 15 to 100 and labeled “broad spectrum,” meaning protection against ultraviolet and ultraviolet B rays. Nineteen met U.S. standards and 11 met European Union standards.

The problem may reside in the fact that U.S. sunscreens measure SPF that protects against UVA rays, which cause sunburn, but not necessarily against UVB rays, which could cause skin cancer and early signs of aging.

Study authors said that these findings show that U.S. sunscreens may need better standards to protect against UVA rays. However, they acknowledged that their evaluation of only a few sunscreen products are a limitation on their research.

There was no funding for this study.