Skin surgeon and dermatologist Dr. Keith LeBlanc Jr., and the team at The Skin Surgery Centre have had much to celebrate this year. They completed their 1,000th skin cancer procedure in the New Orleans area using Mohs micrographic surgery and can now claim one more victory: The passage of a bill that will enable new sunscreen ingredients to be used to protect the public.
On November 29, 2014, President Barack Obama signed the the bipartisan Sunscreen Innovation Act into law. This piece of legislation was not new and had been tabled multiple times since its introduction. Thanks to awareness campaigns like that of The Skin Surgery Centre, the support of groups like the Skin Cancer Foundation and concerned citizens, the plethora of innovative new sunscreen ingredients requiring U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval will be on the fast track to protecting consumers.
Many of the new ingredients are legal in other countries and have been found to be safe and, in some cases, more effective at protecting against UVA rays than the few ingredients permitted on U.S. retail shelves. With pressure from the Acting U.S. Surgeon General, members of Congress and the House Appropriations Committee, the prospect of slowing the rising tide of skin cancer diagnoses is now a real possibility. The last approval for an ingredient in sunscreen use occurred in 1990 and there are no less than 8 ingredients currently in need of FDA review. The new law will require the FDA to either approve or reject pending ingredients within a certain timeframe some of which are within 6 months – just in time for the 2015 summer.