EltaMD Response to Consumer Reports
Sunscreen Evaluation Article - May 18, 2017
Again this year Consumer Reports (CR) has tested a collection of sunscreens and assigned arbitrary categories of performance to 66 sunscreen products. EltaMD® UV Aero Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 earned a “Good” UVB (SPF) Sun Protection Factor rating in the Consumer Reports 2017 sun protection report. However, CR rated UV Aero poor with respect to UVA protection and UVB accuracy.1 We at EltaMD believe that there were two primary reasons for these poor evaluations.
First, unlike last year CR was more forthcoming with an admission that they do not use the FDA testing protocol as EltaMD is required to do, and that CR uses its own testing procedure. A Personal Care Products Council representative (Beth Jonas, Ph.D.) was quoted as saying that she disagreed with the findings of CR due to this differentiation in testing protocol. 2
U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulations provide that SPF values on sunscreen labels must be derived using the FDA-mandated testing protocol. No other testing method is approved by the FDA, not even CR’s.
Reliable and expert organizations familiar with the FDA-mandated protocol, such as The Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Melanoma Foundation, as well as thousands of practicing physicians, regularly recommend EltaMD sunscreens. They are confident doing so because they know that the SPF values on EltaMD are derived from testing by independent, FDA-registered laboratories with long experience testing sunscreen products in strict conformity with the FDA-mandated protocol. Read the Personal Care Council’s statement about SPF testing at http://www.personalcarecouncil.org/newsroom/20170518.
EltaMD sunscreens are all tested as required by FDA regulations with their performance validated by independent organizations:
- SPF Determination reports by independent laboratories are available for all EltaMD sunscreens at eltamd.com/SPF. The SPF rating documented in the SPF determination report is the SPF rating printed on the product packaging.
- All EltaMD sunscreens have earned the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.
Secondly, the CR article again recommends that consumers should use sunscreens that contain, “…chemical active ingredients such as avobenzone rather than “natural” or mineral active ingredients such as zinc oxide.” 3 The Environmental Working Group (EWG) directly contradicts this suggestion writing, “Zinc oxide is EWG’s first choice for sun protection.”4 Also, Dr. Dawn Davis, a dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic suggests that people with skin allergies or sensitive skin should "look for a sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which are physical blockers and tend to be hypoallergenic." 5
According to the Center for Disease Control, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide “…are effective, broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB radiation.” 6
Zinc Oxide is not only the EWG’s choice for sun protection, it is less irritating to those with certain types of skin conditions and protects against a wide range of UV radiation.
Additionally, this CR suggestion is puzzling given the risk from some chemical active ingredients. Oxybenzone, an ingredient being outlawed in Hawaii due to the damage it can cause to ocean reefs, is one of those chemical ingredients indirectly recommended by CR.
Again this year CR has evaluated sunscreens without conducting FDA approved testing and made product recommendations that are counter to known clinical ingredient attributes, even to the point of putting the environment at risk.
EltaMD is very proud of all its sunscreen products and stands behind their efficacy and claims.
Learn more about EltaMD sunscreens here.
- EltaMD UV Aero Broad-Spectrum SPF 45
- EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
- EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
- EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40
- EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 40
- EltaMD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44
- EltaMD UV Facial Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+
- EltaMD UV Lip Balm Broad-Spectrum SPF 31
- EltaMD UV Lotion Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+
- EltaMD UV Physical Broad-Spectrum SPF 41
- EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47
- EltaMD UV Shield Broad-Spectrum SPF 45
- EltaMD UV Sport Broad-Spectrum SPF 50
- EltaMD UV Spray Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
- Trisha Calvo, “Get the Best Sun Protection”, Consumer Reports, May 18, 2017, 13, consumerreports.org/sun- protection/get-the-best-sun-protection, 5-19-2017.
- Trisha Calvo, “Get the Best Sun Protection”, Consumer Reports, May 18, 2017, 6, consumerreports.org/sun- protection/get-the-best-sun-protection, 5-19-2017.
- Trisha Calvo, “Get the Best Sun Protection”, Consumer Reports, May 18, 2017, 8, consumerreports.org/sun- protection/get-the-best-sun-protection, 5-19-2017.
- “EWG’s 11th Guide to Sunscreens”, Environmental Working Group, 5/23/2017, 9, EWG.org.
- Robert Jimison, “Experts’ tips for choosing the safest sunscreen”, CNN online US Edition, May 23, 2017, Updated 4:16 AM ET, p. 1.
- Ansdell, Vernon E., M.D., and Amy K. Reisenauer, MD, “The Yellow Book 2016, CDC Health Information for International Travel”, (Oxford University Press, 2016), 100-1