Sunscreens, sun protection, how did it all begin? When was it first used?
It is believed in 1938, when a Swiss-Austrian chemist, Franz Greiter, who was a devoted mountain climber was climbing Mount Piz Buin and he was severely sun burnt. He was intent on making an effect product, Gletscher Crème (Glacier Cream) name Piz Buin was introduced to the market in 1946.
In 1944, Benjamin Green, a pharmacist and airman in World War II, used a substance called “red vet Pet” to protect himself and the other soldiers, from UV rays. It was heavy and greasy and worked as a physical barrier between the skin and the sun. The Company became famous in 1959, when they launched the Coppertone Girl campaign. In 1965, Jodie Foster made her acting debut as the Coppertone Girl in a TV commercial.
In 1962 Franz Greiter introduced the concept for the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating system. This has become the worldwide standard for measuring the effectiveness of sunscreen.
The Food and Drug Administration proposes to regulate sunscreen in 1978, recommending standards for safety and effectiveness. The guideline dealt with establishing SPF testing and labeling. Even then, the document stated “In the long run, suntanning is not good for the skin”.
Until 1988, all sunscreens regulated by the FDA were for UVB protection, Avobenzone, was the first UVA only filter.
It took 20 years and in 2007 the FDA started accepting comments on their proposed new rules for UVA testing and labeling.
The new regulation on sunscreen were initiated by the FDA in 2012. Products must clearly state whether they offer Broad Spectrum protection, can NOT be called Sun-blocks, can NOT be marketed as “waterproof” (only Water Resistant) and CAN NOT have a higher rating than SPF 50+.