Henry Lim, MD: Current State of Sunscreen Regulations, Mineral Versus Chemical Sunscreens


An interview segment with Lim in which he describes some key takeaways from his conference presentation on sunscreen, photoprotection, and phototherapy.

During another interview segment with Henry Lim, MD, he described some more key points from his presentation at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) 2023 Annual Meeting in New Orleans this week.

Lim works as a dermatologist and as Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

Lim first described the current state of regulations for photoprotection in the US, comparing it to that of Europe.

“As you know, UV filters are regulated as an over the counter drug by the US FDA,” Lim explained. “And currently, there are only 17 UV filters available in the United States, and because of that, you know, our options for sunscreen manufacturers in the United States are much more limited compared to say, in Europe. There are over 30 UV filters available there.”

He added that there are currently discussions between industry and the FDA about getting more kinds of filters labeled as safe and effective for the market.

Lim then went into a discussion of the differences between mineral and chemical sunscreens, as well as the common concerns patients have with them.

“The general approach that I will tell patients is that, at this moment, the data on the chemical or organic sunscreens is still unclear,” he said. “But yet at least the FDA continues to stand behind the safety at this moment of all these organic filters. So, I feel very comfortable for patients to continue to use them.”

If patients are concerned about chemical sunscreens, Lim noted that he recommends thezinc oxide and titanium dioxide-containing sunscreens, as the FDA considers them to be safe and effective.

Lim also explained that due to the whitish color that mineral sunscreens can leave, for patients of color who do not want this effect they may choose tinted mineral sunscreens.

“Tinted sunscreen obviously will overcome that because they put tint in there, which is usually iron oxides,” he said. “Sometimes also pigmentary titanium dioxide is in the sunscreen and because of that the tint would be able to match the natural skin tone. So that would be another option that can be used.”

For more information on Lim’s presentation, view the full HCPLive interview segment.

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