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Sunscreen Ingredients Approved by the FDA

Sunscreen Ingredients Approved by the FDA Sunscreen Ingredients Approved by the FDA

As of 2007, there had been 17 sunscreen ingredients approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Of these ingredients, there are two classifications: organic/chemical and inorganic/physical. Organic/chemical sunscreens absorb rays from the sun while inorganic/physical sunscreens block the sun's rays. Most sunscreens are organic and therefore absorb the rays. For sunscreen usage, the sun's rays are measured in wavelengths.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium dioxide is an inorganic sunscreen that will scatter the sun's rays. It is a natural mineral that works against UVA and UVB rays, according to Cosmetics Cop. Titanium dioxide is thought to have no risk of skin irritation. It can also be used as a thickener, a lubricant and a whitening agent. According to Smart Skin Care, it will cover wavelengths from 290 to 350 nanometers.

Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is another inorganic sunscreen that blocks the rays from the sun instead of absorbing them. It is an earth mineral. A potential antioxidant, zinc oxide is another anti-irritant that can be used as a thickener, a whitening agent and a lubricant, according to Cosmetics Cop. Wavelengths that are covered with zinc oxide are 290 to 400 nanometers, according to Smart Skin Care.


Octocrylene sunscreen works by absorbing the sun's rays. It is a clear, oily liquid that is approved for concentrations up to 10 percent by the FDA. According to Cosmetics Info, octocrylene converts UV rays to infrared radiation, which is a less damaging form. It covers wavelengths from 290 to 350 nanometers, according to Smart Skin Care.


Homosalate is a sunscreen agent that absorbs rays from the sun instead of scattering them. It, like octocrylene, works by converting the sun's UV rays into infrared radiation. The FDA has approved this sunscreen for use in over-the-counter products in concentrations up to 15 percent. Smart Skin Care states that it protects from wavelengths 295 to 315 nanometers.

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