Posts Tagged ‘ sunburn ’

Melanoma Risk Tied to Sunburns During Teen Years

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Teens–especially young women–who get multiple blistering sunburns during their teenage years may be at greater risk of developing the serious skin cancer melanoma as adults, according to new research published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.  More from The New York Times:

The new research found that women who had at least five blistering sunburns during their teenage years had a greater likelihood of developing any of the three main forms of skin cancer. But the risk was particularly high for melanoma, which kills an estimated 8,800 Americans a year.

Women who were consistently exposed to high amounts of ultraviolet radiation as adults did not have an increased risk for melanoma. But they did have more than double the risk of developing basal and squamous cell carcinoma, two common but less lethal forms of skin cancer.

The findings, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, were based on an analysis of 109,000 Caucasian women who were followed for 20 years as part of the nationwide Nurses’ Health Study II. Throughout the study, the women routinely provided details about their medical histories, as well as information on things like their use of tanning beds and any sunburns or moles on their skin.

Researchers urge parents to protect their children from chronic sun exposure, and teach kids the importance of sun protection–in the form of sunscreens as well as protective clothing–from an early age.

Image: Teens at the beach, via Shutterstock

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New Sunscreen Labels to Clarify Protection

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

SunscreenThe US Food and Drug Administration has released new guidelines requiring sunscreen manufacturers to label their products in more clear ways, a move which is sure to help parents choose the best sunscreens for their families.  Companies have until the summer of 2012 to implement the new labeling rules, which are meant to help consumers understand the difference between protecting themselves from sunburn and staving off premature aging and skin cancer.

The Boston Globe summarized the new rules:

Current sunscreens can claim to offer broad spectrum protection even if they don’t do much against UVA rays — the kind associated with wrinkling, age spots, and skin cancer. The sun protection factor, or SPF, number refers only to UVB rays, which cause sunburns and skin cancer. The new rules will require products to pass an FDA-specified test for UVA and UVB protection to make the claim “broad spectrum.”

Any product that fails the test will have to carry a warning in a “drug facts” box on the back of the bottle stating that “this product has been shown only to prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.” Products with an SPF lower than 15 will also have to carry that warning.

A sunscreen that both passes the broad spectrum test and has an SPF of 15 or higher can make the claim in the drug facts box that it “decreases the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun.”

The American Academy of Dermatology applauded the new regulations. “For the first time, the FDA has clearly defined the testing required to make a broad-spectrum protection claim in a sunscreen and indicate which type of sunscreen can reduce skin cancer risk,” said Dr. Ronald Moy, a dermatologist and president of the academy.

Products with an SPF of 15 — which blocks 93 percent of UVB rays — will have to provide the same proportional protection against UVA rays. “As the SPF number goes up,” said Woodcock, “the UVA protection also has to go up.” Thus, an SPF 30 product would be expected to provide more broad spectrum protection as well.

Dermatologists continue to recommend that people use products with an SPF of 30 or more because, Moy said, they often don’t apply enough sunscreen — the equivalent of at least a shot glass is recommended — or reapply it often enough — every two to three hours is best.

The new regulations don’t allow for listing super-high SPFs like 80 or 90. Instead, these products can be described as having an SPF of “50 plus”. “We have no evidence to show that going above an SPF 50 provides any additional benefits,” [Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research] said.

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