Ban Misleadingly-Branded High-SPF Sunscreens

Target: Food and Drug Administration

Goal: Cap sunscreen products at SPF 50, the maximum level at which they are effective

As summer approaches, more and more people venture outside to spend time in the sun with their families. And while it may seem like good common sense to slap on sunscreen before leaving the house as the days get longer, studies actually show that people who wear high-SPF sunscreens are more likely to suffer damaging sun exposure than people who don’t. The statistic may seem counterintuitive, but the data behind it makes sense; sunscreens with an SPF above 50 don’t actually offer any additional protection, despite the higher number on their label. People who wear high-SPF sunscreens are therefore deluded into thinking they can stay out in the sun for longer without reapplying sun protection–a delusion that leads to irreversible skin damage.

The FDA is currently considering a proposed rule to cap SPF at 50 in all commercially sold sunscreens. This rule would restrict the market to include only products that actually provide the benefits they claim to provide. Companies shouldn’t be allowed to market an SPF 80 sunscreen as providing twice the protection of an SPF 40 sunscreen when such a claim doesn’t hold up under scientific scrutiny. Such high SPF levels only lead people to believe they can stay out in the sun for longer–ultimately putting them at a higher risk of skin diseases like melanoma.

Don’t allow skincare companies to profit from misleading consumers and endangering their health. Demand that the FDA enforce a limit on the SPF advertised on sunscreen products. Sign the petition below today.


Dear Food and Drug Administration,

Sunscreen is undoubtedly an essential product for those who wish to enjoy the outdoors without damaging their skin, but not all sunscreens provide consumers with the benefits advertised on their labels. Studies have shown that sunscreens with an SPF above 50 provide no additional protection. In fact, people who use high-SPF sunscreens are actually more likely to damage their skin by spending more time in direct sunlight, falsely believing they’re protected against harmful UV rays.

Prohibiting companies from selling sunscreen with an SPF above 50 would give consumers a much clearer picture of the products they’re using to protect their skin. This additional regulation would help lower rates of skin cancer by discouraging the feeling of invincibility that high-SPF sunscreen instills. I ask that you protect consumer health by moving forward with the proposed ban on high-SPF sunscreens.

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Peter Dutton via Flickr.

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