The proposal calls for more testing of ingredients that have not yet been marked completely safe for use.

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Credit: YASU+JUNKO

Whether you're applying SPF everyday (as recommended by dermatologists!) or stocking up for summer skincare, a new proposal by the Food and Drug Administration could affect your sunscreen selections. Announced on February 21, the FDA's proposal says it will update many of regulations currently required before deeming a sunscreen both safe and effective for use. These guidelines have not been updated in over four decades.

"Since the initial evaluation of these products, we know much more about the effects of the sun and about sunscreen's absorption through the skin. Sunscreen usage has changed, with more people using these products more frequently and in larger amounts. At the same time, sunscreen formulations have evolved as companies innovated," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. in a press release. "The proposal we've put forward would improve quality, safety and efficacy of the sunscreens Americans use every day."

Right now, out of the 16 active ingredients in most over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreens, only two have been marked completely safe for use by the FDA: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. As for the other 14? The FDA says there's currently not enough data on these ingredients before they can be marked safe or not. One of ingredients, oxybenzone, was banned in Hawaii last summer because of the damage effects it was found to have on the coral reefs.

As part of the new proposal, the department says it will work on developing clearer sunscreen labels that require all active ingredients to be listed on the front of the package, like packaging of many other OTC products, as well as enforce more testing and rigorous assessing of these ingredients.

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