Monday, July 24, 2006

Let the Sun Shine In: Volume 3

Breaking news report!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled goofing off and internet surfing through the final sale items on to bring you some late breaking beauty news.

As recently as, well, like 20 minutes ago, the FDA approved a new sunscreen product which has been shown to be effective in blocking UVA rays, exposure to which is linked to some cancers. Until now, sunscreens containing the active ingredient Mexoryl (or ecamsule, as it will be called in the U.S.) have only been available in Europe and Canada.

Now, beauty junkies may know this product as the famous LaRoche-Posay Anthelios XL Lait SPF 60 which was featured in InStyle's Best Beauty Buys 2005 and recommended by every dematologist worth their salty publicist. It was coveted and brought back from St. Tropez in bulk or purchased at a ghastly price from Zitomer in New York because it was contraband here!

The reason? FDA regulates sunscreens as drugs, not a cosmetics, which means their safety and efficacy must be proven before the product can be marketed. See 21 CFR part 352. Until today, Mexoryl's safety and efficacy had not been proven. Hence the ban, and the reason why Customs would take away your sunscreen and treat you like you had been bringing in Roofies from Mexico if they caught you. (This is really not actually true, but it was illegal to sell here)

But the reign of sunscreen terror is over! The new product will be called Anthelios SX and will be distributed by LaRoche-Posay. Also, the actual SPF is 15, not 60; due to FDA regulations which set the standards for determining the sun protection factor of a product.

For more information on this see the official FDA press release.

And don't feel bad for Zitomer losing business in their $46 sunscreen. They still carry the illicit $32 Elnett hairspray in case you feel like being a rebel with your beauty...


DC Celine said...

Woo HOOO! I saw the report on the news today, and jumped for joy. I read about Mexoryl in InStyle last year, and, as a redhead, well...

So brought 6 body cream and 6 face milk (non-greasy) bottles of the Vichy version when in Romania last year. It's amazing. I can sit on the beach for an hour & not get burned!

And it's not a bad moisturizer, either...soft as a baby's...

Anonymous said...

Importance of UVA protection


In addition to InStyle, there was an article in the New York Times last June 9th 2005.

When used in conjunction with such words and phrases as Global Warming, Ozone Depletion and Melanoma, we began to see and make connections. Today, most Ultra Violet radiation or UV rays come in three varieties, UVA, UVB and UVC. The most damaging are UVC rays, which are absorbed by the stratospheric ozone layer. However, as the ozone layer depletes, there is an increased potential for UVC rays to get through.
The UVB rays do get through the atmosphere and burn the outer layers of the skin. They will penetrate and can be quite damaging. The UVA ray is the most abundant of the three and does penetrate beyond the top layer of human skin. Damage from UVA rays not only includes severe burning, but scientists and doctors believe the UVA ray is a risk factor in the development of cancers including squamous, basal cell and Melanoma. In the spring of 2006, Environment Canada scientists reported that UV levels would be about 4 times higher than pre-1980 levels. The culprit is primarily the depleting ozone layer. The report also stated that the ozone layer thinned by 5% and worsened to "7% below normal by early spring."
There is increasing agreement in the scientific community that climate change is a contributor high-altitude ozone depletion. This years thinning trend will continue throughout the summer months but at slightly reduced levels. The comparisons are made against 1980 statistics when ozone depletion was first reported. So how do we protect against the possibility of sun damage? Over the years, a wide number of new sun block products have flooded the market as manufacturers scramble to develop the most effective sun protection. The industry standard for protection is the SPF designation, or Sun Protection Factor. Generally the higher the number, the more complete the protection. But so far, perfection has yet to be obtained. In late March 2006, a class action lawsuit was initiated in the United States. A number of manufacturers were in the process of being taken to task for marketing products that allegedly offer little or no protection against the more penetrating UVA rays. The suit says the manufacturers claim to generally protect users from ultraviolet rays. It recognizes that UVB rays might be stopped, but contends little is done concerning potential damage from UVA rays.
In 1992, a new weapon was introduced in the fight against UVA radiation. A French manufacturer developed a new ingredient for its line of skin care products. Since then, Mexoryl has been included in Canadian and European versions of La Roche-Posay Anthelios and L’Oreal Ombrelle sun block. Mexoryl SX was not FDA approved as yet for sale in the United States.
The good news is that on July 25th, 2006, FDA decided to finally approve of the Mexoryl SX . However, it will only be available in the Fall of 2006 and will only offer a protection of SPF 15. In the eyes of La Roche Posay and most dermatologists, anything lower than SPF 20 is not a significant protection.
Mexoryl SX as found in Ombrelle and Anthelios by La Roche-Posay offers waterproof Anthelios S SPF 30, oil-free Anthelios Lait SPF 45 and total protection Anthelios L SPF 60 and are available online at

caphillbarbie said...

Thanks for the additional info, I had read the Times piece when it came out, but it's so difficult to get their archived articles!

No word yet on when the sunscreen product will be officially on the shelves. Maybe I could use my pseudo-status to try to get some answers!

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