Shipping Sunscreen to Canada

August 1, 2022 
|  Passport

Shipping Sunscreen to Canada


Although most commonly associated with the summer season, utilizing sunscreen is a year-round practice for consumers. For brands looking to ship sunscreen internationally to reach those customers, what should you keep in mind? Because each country has its own regulatory guidelines, the shipping experts here at Passport have compiled the top 5 tips for shipping sunscreen to Canada.


  1. Sunscreens can be classified as cosmetics, natural health products, or non-prescription drugs, depending on the market, active ingredients, and health claims. In Canada, sunscreens are classified as non-prescription drugs or natural health products, depending on their active ingredients.
    1. Products containing chemical filters (e.g. Benzophenones) are classified as non-prescription drugs
    2. Sunscreen products with physical UV filters (e.g. zinc oxide) are classified as natural health products (NHP)
  2. All sunscreens approved for sale in Canada must have a Drug Identification Number (DIN) or Natural Product Number (NPN).
    1. Sunscreens classified as non-prescription drugs require a drug identification number (DIN)
    2. Sunscreens classified as natural health products (NHPs) require a natural product number
  3. Health Canada classifies a distinction between primary and secondary sunscreen products
    1. Primary sunscreen products are intended to be applied to the skin to prevent sunburn and related conditions of sun exposure
      1. If no explicit primary cosmetic function is evident from the inner and outer package labels and/or the brand name, then the sunscreen will be deemed to be a primary sunscreen
    2. Secondary sunscreen products are intended to be applied to the face or skin as makeup or skincare products which carry limited sunscreen claims
      1. Secondary sunscreens are classified as natural health products or non-prescription drugs, depending on the ingredients
  4. DTC shipments should be limited to <90-day supply to be deemed personal importations not for resale, rather than commercial importations
    1. If importing commercially (forward stocking for Canadian fulfillment), brands may need the following:
      1. A Canadian tax ID or non-resident importer (NRI) business number
      2. A warehouse site license
      3. Manufacturing certificates
      4. A retainer lot of samples in case Health Canada wants to inspect the products

How Can Passport Help?

Passport’s in-house team of logistics and regulations experts work with brands to ensure they comply with market regulations. To determine which regulations apply, the Passport team will look at the product formula, the marketing claims, and the labels— and this assessment is free of charge for brands that ship with Passport!
Be sure to contact us if you’re looking to get started with an assessment. Or if you’re looking for more info on shipping all cosmetics or personal care products to Canada, be sure to read more here. We know shipping internationally can be a seemingly complicated process, but your friends at Passport are here to help—let’s get started!