why are U.S. manufacturers phasing out the best sunscreen?
March 27, 2011 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Why are Mexoryl/ecamsule-based sunscreens getting harder and harder to find in the US?

Mexoryl, widely believed to be the most effective UVA blocker, was available in Europe and Canada long before it was finally approved by the FDA a few years ago (I'm not sure if it was Mexoryl itself or just certain products containing it that were approved.) For a brief period, it was possible to find a fairly wide variety of Mexoryl-based suncreen products. Then, Lancome, L'oreal and Skinceuticals all apparently discontinued theirs. The only product left is La Roche-Posay's expensive Anthelios SX. In perhaps the most ominous development, La Roche-Posay is now touting a line of Mexoryl-free products with "breakthrough Cell-Ox Shield," which appears to be nothing more than a combination of the same inferior ingredients found in every other American sunscreen.

What's going on? I found this thread on MakeupAlley, but it's mainly full of speculation. Is it just that Mexoryl is expensive and companies are hoping that consumers won't know the difference? Is it a patent issue? Are there safety concerns? And is the same thing happening in other countries?
posted by Ralston McTodd to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Mexoryl as ecamsule is patented in the US by L'Oreal, so only L'Oreal companies ever had them (all the companies you list -- Lancome, Skinceuticals and La Roche-Posay -- are owned by L'Oreal). The other formulation of Mexoryl (Drometrizole trisiloxane) is not approved in the US. I'm not sure if this helps you, but the fact that only one company ever had it at all might help make some sense.
posted by brainmouse at 2:27 PM on March 27, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, brainmouse; that was my understanding of the patent situation too, so I suspected these were all L'Oreal companies. The thing I don't understand is, why does L'Oreal want to phase out the innovative ingredient that they pioneered? Is it like soda companies going all-high-fructose-corn-syrup and resolutely denying that the old sugar formulation was any different?
posted by Ralston McTodd at 2:48 PM on March 27, 2011

This is not an answer to your question at all, but I have recipes for homemade sunblock. Regular and waterproof. They are not difficult. Memail me if you are interested.

(I had trouble with sunscreen, too.)
posted by Leta at 7:15 PM on March 27, 2011

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