FDA Takes Heat on Slow Review for More Powerful Sunscreens

Dermatologists and skin care advocates are frustrated with little to no advances in approval for better sunscreens.
3:00 | 03/21/14

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Transcript for FDA Takes Heat on Slow Review for More Powerful Sunscreens
This is a special room. Summer and the sweet smell of suntan lotions and oils still a bit of a long ways off even further off into the future. More powerful and effective sunscreen that states ones that people in Europe and Asia. Have already been using for years. When -- Dan Butler our Digital Life event on something that's frustrating dermatologists skin care advocates. Little to no advances in better sunscreens. In the United States -- joining me now via Skype from office CBC news that your doctor Jennifer Ashton Dr. ash -- being with us appreciate it. Pleasure to be solicitor wanted to ask you about this biggest selling -- not many advances -- on screen right now on the United States what is the hold. Well listen it's not just on -- it's a lot of medications. For all kinds of conditions and it's a big source of frustration for the -- public. And for health care providers alike I think that part of it now I know I'm not. FDA expert but part of it is that the readers that drugs or treatments have to go through in this country to get FDA approval are very very different than those in other parts of the world doesn't mean they're better doesn't mean there words just means they're different so therefore you can go -- across the Atlantic Ocean a lot of times and -- have access. To medications and treatments that are used every day there in places like England's you know not too far off. That we can't get here so is frustrating. But you really have to look at both sides -- that that those systems are in place largely for our protection they're not meant to frustrate people but there -- better -- complicated. Complex process and -- a lot of times it doesn't work -- We as we look like. -- of many people going online try to purchase those things where they can actually get the -- -- United States to try to get that to sort of almost circumvent I guess the system on that you know and we heard the warnings about skin cancer and the dangers of sun exposure the American Cancer Society fact finding one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. And yet as you're saying that the process for getting drug approval is just a long and lengthy process from the FDA tell me a little bit about this he can -- -- it's it's a chemical filter. It's sitting on the FDA's waiting -- right now it was approved in Europe in the early nineties. Is it a matter of their additional ingredients that were put in that we're missing out on horses at its -- new product altogether. Well here's what the buzz is about this ingredient in. It's thought to potentially BC -- in terms of the sun screen. And more effective so those are the things we hear out all. Time with every medication and every treatment what do we mean by that we're talking about sunscreens -- safer because. A lot of the chemicals that are affected sun screens. Also penetrate acts that sent cutaneous later in our -- -- get absorbed systemically meaning throughout our extreme and some of that -- potential to work as so called endocrine disrupt -- so they can happen. Mom like activity so obviously that is the potential. For. Skipping the balance between something that's beneficial and something that's risky. So this council is thought to not get absorbed systemically and beat that better at blocking especially BUBA -- -- which are the ones that really are largely responsible for causing the majority of photo aging and skin cancer. So you're trying to block the UBA talks lead very briefly then about the SPF numbers and the other thing I want to also featured a touch on. Is the actual dollar amount what these products cost is oftentimes I go to the drugstore I think if something is costing five dollars more than what its -- product is it's got to be better right. -- -- just like me how should I. Things. You know I think first of all we have to remember. That. When we compare -- say sun screen availability and access your -- Europe we're talking about safety and efficacy so we're talking about how many cases of skin cancer due. The -- sun screens prevents. Compared to -- and actually it is statistics are not as our -- as one would think number one. Number -- the house seat -- there. The air products the ones we're trying to get innings in our sun screens we talked a little bit about that -- cancel its active systemic absorption and then we have to talk about how potentially risky. Our current chemical ingredients that are in our products so this is where it gets very complicated it's not that simple. A decision making process and -- when you get into. Administration. And bureaucracy gets. The cheapest and safest and most effective sunscreen ingredient is gonna bash in white zinc oxide the kind that the -- guards used. And that is -- very safe area affected. Why don't we use it well because people don't want to walk around with white faces white noses white lips. So I'm -- listening and watching don't please know that you can always go to that until these products kind of filter and partner on in our supply the other thing he -- that it is possible to get things from Europe. You know the cost might be an issue but it's definitely possible we live in -- global society and lastly. You know all might dermatology colleagues say look it's important to use sun screen especially if you're going to be outlets say at each are -- -- -- leak. But the most effective and safest. Way to protect our skin from aging and cancer risk. Is not to be outside between the hours at 10 AM -- 2 PM and use protective clothing umbrellas things of that nature. The sage advice from doctor Jennifer Ashton Dr. Ashton thank you so much appreciate that of course have a great weekend as well. This has been an ABC news digital special report. I'm -- that's -- New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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