Why Do Europeans And Australians Have More And Better Sunscreen Options Than The US?

By | October 28, 2022

Sunscreens not only prevent the threats of skin cancer due to sun exposure and sunburn but also help to deal with pigmentation issues like darkening of the face skin and dark spots. Sunscreen formulations are evolving due to continued global research and development activities for better innovation of more effective products.

The European and Australian drug regulators and the US FDA are approving new chemical ingredients for sunscreens to cope with the increasing threats of skin damage due to the changing environmental conditions. Not all sunscreens are effective in offering the same degree of UV-A and UV-B protection because it all depends on the chemical ingredients. Therefore, when buying sunscreens you should ensure that the ingredients consist of chemicals approved by the drug regulator of the respective country or continent.

US sunscreens are different from the European and Australian sunscreens:
Since you should only use sunscreens that contain ingredients approved by the drug regulator, you should be aware that sunscreens in the US are different from the sunscreens manufactured in Europe and Australia. The US-made sunscreens protect against UV-B caused sunburn. As these do not protect against UV-A rays of sunlight that penetrate deeper into the skin and are the cause of skin cancer, the protection of US sunscreens is only partial. On the other hand, European sunscreens are more comprehensive as the ingredients protect from the dangers of both UV-A and UV-B.

Approved chemical sunscreen ingredients in the US:
Currently, of the sixteen active ingredients of UV filters that are in use in the US, only two meet the requirements of the GRASE category or are ‘generally recognized as safe and effective as per US FDA rules. The new rule with updated regulatory requirements announced on February 21, 2019, recognizes only titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide as safe. Of the seventeen filters allowed by the US FDA, nine have the rarest use while PCPC Consortium is supporting and defending the GRASE status of the following active ingredients of UV filters.

  • Octocrylene (PARSOL® 340)
  • Octisalate (PARSOL® EHS)
  • Oxybenzone.
  • Ensulizole (PARSOL® HS)
  • Octinoxate (PARSOL® MCX)
  • Avobenzone (PARSOL® 1789)
  • Homosalate (PARSOL® HMS)

Approved sunscreen ingredients in Europe:
European companies use some sunscreen filters that are not only more effective than Avobenzone but provide extensive protection against UV-A and UV-B. These are Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M, Mexoryl SX, and Mexoryl deemed.

The European Commission declared both Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M, developed by BASF as safe in concentrations up to 10%. Cosmetics manufacturer La Roche-Posay developed Mexoryl SX that offers better protection. The current data of the four filters indicate that these are safe.

Approved sunscreen ingredients in Australia:
The Australian formulations of sunscreens, considered superior to the US and European sunscreens have the strictest requirements for sunscreen ingredients to deal with the high rate of skin cancer in the country. Some noted sunscreens manufactured in Australia are Extreme Skin Hydrating Body SPF 50+, Hand from Ultra Violette, Oh My Bod from Everyday Humans SPF 50+, and To Save Body SPF 50 Superscreen from Mecca.