FDA Approves Sunscreen That May Block Skin Cancer

A sunscreen that blocks the type of ultraviolet radiation linked to some cancers, and which has been available only outside the United States, received federal approval Monday.

Called Anthelios SX, the sunscreen contains ecamsule, an ingredient better at blocking ultraviolet A, or UVA, radiation than other sunscreen ingredients currently sold in the United States. Those ingredients mainly screen out UVB rays.

UVB has long been associated with sunburn, while UVA is recognized as a deeper penetrating radiation, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Doctors suspect there is a link between UVA exposure and longer-term effects, including wrinkles, basal and squamous cell cancers and melanoma.

Anthelios is made by the French cosmetics company L'Oreal SA. It has a sun protection factor or SPF of 15.

The sunscreen contains three active ingredients, including ecamsule or Mexoryl SX. Mexoryl has been included in the company's sunscreens sold in Canada and Europe since 1993.

LaRoche-Posay will distribute the product, the FDA said.