Why Sunscreens are Critical to Sun Safety
Approximately 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every day – that’s nearly 3.5 million people per year. Dermatologists say even one severe sunburn can double your chances of getting a form of skin cancer. According to the World Health Organization, experts believe that 4 out of 5 cases of skin cancer are preventable. Healthcare professionals and regulatory authorities worldwide say that using safe sunscreens is a critical part of staying safe in the sun and preventing skin cancer.
That’s why it’s essential to use the best sunscreen filters that deliver maximum protection from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. By using a diverse set of safe sunscreen ingredients like avobenzone, octocrylene and oxybenzone, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health formulates effective sunscreens that provide superior sun protection. We also use mineral filters like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Did You Know These Facts About Sunscreen?
- The active ingredients in sunscreens that help prevent UV rays from getting through to the skin are called filters.
- Not all sunscreens are equal. Some filters only protect against UVA rays that penetrate deep into the skin and cause long-term UV skin damage, while others protect against UVB rays that cause sunburns. Only a few filters protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Because every sunscreen ingredient serves a different purpose, it’s important to understand that each filter provides value in delivering the best options for optimal sun protection.
|UVA Filters||UVB Filters||UVA + UVB Filters|
*Not yet approved by FDA
Safe for People and the Environment
At Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, nothing is more important to us than safety. Recently, some of sunscreen filters have been called into question. Concerns about the effects of oxybenzone on coral reefs have led to widespread misinformation about the safety of many sunscreens in the marine environment. This spread of misinformation has real consequences, leading to actions that limit consumer access to sun protection and could potentially increase the risk of skin cancer from the sun. The fact is, there is no credible science that demonstrates a link between sunscreens and coral reef bleaching. According to environmental experts around the world, global climate change, ocean acidification, and unsustainable fishing practices are the cause of coral reef bleaching. Further, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program confirms that oxybenzone has no observed endocrine effects.
Science, and decades of safe use as a UV filter support the safety of oxybenzone. It is the most studied sunscreen ingredient and it is approved by the FDA and many other health authorities around the world. Globally, these health authorities recognize it as a safe and effective ingredient for broad spectrum UV protection. Oxybenzone is the only ingredient in the U.S. that allows us to formulate high-SPF sunscreens, including SPF 100, that provide superior broad spectrum protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays. These are rays that cause premature aging signs such as fine lines, wrinkles and can cause skin cancer. That’s why we stand behind the safety of our sunscreen ingredients, including oxybenzone, and the importance of high-SPF sunscreens.5
A recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology supports the real-world benefits of high-SPF sunscreens. This landmark research is the largest peer reviewed, published study to directly compare the benefits of high-SPF sunscreens in real-world conditions. This study showed that SPF 100+ broad spectrum sunscreen was significantly more effective in protecting against sunburns than an SPF 50+ broad spectrum sunscreen.6
Johnson & Johnson is committed to creating products that are safe for people and the environment. We adhere to a strict safety assurance process for every product we make. As an industry leader in suncare, we help people around the world understand and respect the power of the sun, the center of our universe yet the greatest environmental cause of premature aging and preventable skin cancer. We have a responsibility to the health of our consumers and our communities, and we will always work to develop a diverse portfolio of suncare products that protect public health.
1 American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), Skin cancer, Available at: https://www.aad.org/media/stats/conditions/skin-cancer
2 World Health Organization (WHO), Ultraviolet radiation (UV), Available at: http://www.who.int/uv/sun_protection/en/
3 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coral Reef Conservation Program, Coral Reef Threats, Available at: https://coralreef.noaa.gov/issues/welcome.html
3 PeerJ, Patterns of bleaching and mortality following widespread warming events in 2014 and 2015 at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Hawai‘i, Available at: https://peerj.com/articles/3355/?utm_source=TrendMD&utm_campaign=PeerJ_TrendMD_0&utm_medium=TrendMD
3 American Meteorology Society (AMS), A Climate Services Perspective on Two Significant Climate and Weather Events in Australia, Available at: https://ams.confex.com/ams/97Annual/videogateway.cgi/id/36418?recordingid=36418&uniqueid=Paper312862&entry_password=598657
4 Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Part 352 -- Sunscreen Drug Products For Over-The-Counter Human Use, Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=352.50
4 National Toxicology Program (NTP), Testing Status of 2-Ethylhexyl 2-cyano-3,3-diphenylacrylate M20247, Available at: https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/testing/status/agents/ts-m20247.html
5 Johnson & Johnson, New Study Finds That, Yes, High SPF Sunscreen Is Better at Protecting Your Skin, Available at: https://www.jnj.com/health-and-wellness/is-higher-spf-sunscreen-better-results-of-spf-100-vs-spf-50-research
6 Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, SPF 100+ sunscreen is more protective against sunburn than SPF 50+ in actual use: Results of a randomized, double-blind, split-face, natural sunlight exposure clinical trial, Available at: https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(17)32908-0/fulltext