Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Families are getting more serious about using sunscreen consistently, which is an important practice for skin health. But the US Food and Drug Administration is warning that spray sunscreens, if applied near very hot surfaces like grills or campfires, could become flammable and cause serious injury. No children have reported injuries from spray sunscreen, but the FDA urged parents to read labels carefully and avoid any products that are flammable.
The FDA issued a statement, which reads, in part:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has become aware of five separate incidents in which people wearing sunscreen spray near sources of flame suffered significant burns that required medical treatment. The specific products reported to have been used in these cases were voluntarily recalled from the market, so should no longer be on store shelves.
However, many other sunscreen spray products contain flammable ingredients, commonly alcohol. The same is true for certain other spray products, such as hairspray and insect repellants, and even some non-spray sunscreens may contain flammable ingredients. Many flammable products have a label warning against their use near an open flame.
You should never apply a product labeled as flammable while you are near a source of flame. In the five incidents reported to FDA, however, the burns occurred after the sunscreen spray had been applied. The ignition sources were varied and involved lighting a cigarette, standing too close to a lit citronella candle, approaching a grill, and in one case, doing some welding. These incidents suggest that there is a possibility of catching fire if you are near an open flame or a spark after spraying on a flammable sunscreen—even if you believe you have waited a sufficient time for the sunscreen to dry and your skin feels dry.
“Based on this information, we recommend that after you have applied a sunscreen spray labeled as flammable, you consider avoiding being near an open flame, sparks or an ignition source,” says Narayan Nair, M.D., a lead medical officer at FDA.
Image: Spray sunscreen, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
Two elementary school girls in Tacoma, Washington have reportedly suffered severe sunburns after their school banned sunscreen, MSNBC.com is reporting. The girls are sisters, and one of them has a skin condition that makes her especially sensitive to the sun. According to MSNBC, the girls’ mother is challenging the ban:
Their mother said seeing her girls walk through the door was a moment she’ll never forget. “It was horrifying to see (Violet’s) bright red face. There were welts, she was swollen and then I saw Zoe’s shoulders. It was absolutely painful and gut-wrenching to look at. I was horrified.” The burns were so severe, [Jesse] Michener whisked her daughters to the local hospital for examinations.
When Michener pressed school officials on the ban, they told her that there is a state-wide policy that does not allow staff to apply sunscreen to students, and students can only apply it themselves if they have a doctor’s note. The law exists because the additives in lotions and sunscreens can cause an allergic reaction in children, and sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as an over-the-counter drug. Michener discovered that the policy exists in 49 states nationwide; California is the only state to allow sunscreen in school without a doctor’s note.
“I did share with the principal that any policy that didn’t allow her to use common sense was something that I had to do something about,” Michener said. “She nodded and shook her head.”
Image: Sunscreen, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
In a move that critics say will lead to more sun damaged skin this summer, the FDA has announced that sunscreen companies have an extra six months to implement new guidelines on how to label their products. Time.com reports:
Last summer, the FDA told manufacturers they had until this June to revise their sunscreen labels in order to distinguish brands that could be labeled as “broad spectrum,” meaning they protect against both ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays, which contribute to skin cancer and early skin aging. The new guidelines also say brands cannot claim to be sweatproof or waterproof on their labels, to alert users that they must reapply the products.
Manufacturers said they were having difficulty meeting the original deadline, which is less than a month away. So in a formal announcement, the FDA said it will give companies six more months, until December, to make the necessary changes. Smaller companies have an even more generous deadline of December 2013.
The agency argues that without the extension, there would be sunscreen shortages. “We asked for the additional time,” Farah Ahmed, chair of the sunscreen task force at the Personal Care Products Council, told USA Today. Ahmed said changing labels on thousands of products “is a huge undertaking” and that unprepared manufacturers wouldn’t be able to ship new products after June 18, resulting in shortages.
“The FDA took a major step backwards today, and as a result, more consumers will likely get burned this summer,” Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed told the Associated Press. Reed has long encouraged the FDA to enforce stricter sunscreen regulations.
Image: Child with sunscreen, via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, January 24th, 2012
Adolescents who are given health-conscious messages about limiting sun exposure and using sunscreen ignore the advice more and more as they grow into their teen years, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found. CNN.com reports on the findings, which include sunscreen use that decreases by half between ages 10 and 13:
Researchers studied 360 fifth-graders in 2004 and followed up with them in 2007. Approximate ages were 10 to 13.
“I’m sure the parents had more say in [children's] sun behaviors when they were ten years old- applying sunscreen and keeping them out of the sun more,” said Dr. Stephen Dusza, lead author and research epidemiologist from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
“But as they are growing older and developing some more independence, they’re making their own health decisions and sometimes those aren’t the wisest health decisions,” he said.
The American Academy of Dermatology says rates of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, have been rising for at least 30 years. It is now the most common form of cancer for young adults aged 25 to 29 and is the second most common form of cancer among adolescents and adults aged 15 to 29.
Image: Teenager sunbathing, via Shutterstock.
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Friday, November 11th, 2011
The sun’s rays can be dangerous, raising the risk of skin cancers, which is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. A new report from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommends that parents, doctors, and media appeal to teenagers’ sense of vanity to convince them to avoid tanning beds, and to wear sunscreen and protective clothing.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a draft this week, recommending counseling for people between the ages 10 and 24 years who have fair skin about minimizing their ultraviolet radiation exposure. The group routinely makes recommendations about what sort of preventive services should be used in medical care.
The most effective method for reaching this demographic was using booklets, photographs and videos showing how the sun ages and damages skin. This approach was especially convincing for female teens, who were most likely to use indoor tanning beds.
“Appearance-focused messages were successful at reducing intent to pursue this behavior,” according to the report released by the task force.
“We’ll take what we can get,” said Dr. Virginia Moyer, the panel chair of the task force. “From the standpoint of accomplishing the goal of decreasing UV exposure, that goal was best accomplished using appearance-based counseling.”
(image via: http://howcanigettan.com/)
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