Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Those sunscreen sprays may be handy, but could they be dangerous for your kids? That’s the concern behind an ongoing Food and Drug Administration investigation, which is looking into whether inhaling the spray ingredients could be harmful to your health.
And that’s why Consumer Reports is now recommending that you don’t use sunscreen spray on the kids, until the investigation is complete. (And the American Academy of Dermatology also raises concerns.) “We now say that until the FDA completes its analysis, the products should generally not be used by or on children,” says Consumer Reports. “We have also removed one sunscreen spray — Ocean Potion Kids Instant Dry Mist SPF 50 — from the group of recommended sunscreens in our sunscreen Ratings, because it is marketed especially for children.”
Another concern with sunscreen spray cited by the the American Academy of Dermatology is that it’s harder to tell if you’ve put on enough when you’re spraying it, so you may be more likely to underapply.
If you just stocked up on sunscreen spray, you don’t have to toss it out. You can safely apply it by spraying it into your own hand, away from your child, and then slather it on with your hands.
Not sure if you’re keeping your kids covered? Test your sun safety savvy.
Image: Woman and sunscreen by racorn/Shutterstock.com
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Friday, February 14th, 2014
Teenagers are more likely to agree to wear sunscreen on a regular basis after hearing about the premature aging sun exposure can cause, a new study has found. Similar information about how the sun’s rays increase the risk of potentially life-threatening skin cancer, however, did not prove as motivational to the teens studied. More from Reuters:
“Vanity is more of a driving force to use sunscreen, as opposed to the fear factor of developing skin cancer,” the study’s lead author, William Tuong, told Reuters Health. Tuong is a fourth-year medical student at the University of California, Davis.
In his study, high school students applied sunblock three times as often if they watched a video showing how it could prevent their skin from wrinkling than if they watched a video showing how sun exposure causes melanoma.
Fifty Sacramento 11th-grade students participated in the study and saw one of two educational videos urging them to lather on sunscreen.
Tuong developed the five-minute videos to test the theory that teenagers were more likely to respond to messages about appearance than to messages about health.
A young, attractive woman speaks directly to youth in both videos.
In one, the actress emphasizes the growing incidence of melanoma in young people and the link between the deadliest form of skin cancer and ultraviolet light. In the other video, the same actress discusses how ultraviolet light contributes to premature aging and “can make you look older and less attractive.”
“We are not trying to look like our grandparents, right?” the actress says. “Have you seen what the sun can do to a grape? It gets shriveled and wrinkled. Raisins are not cute,” she says.
“I don’t want to look like a raisin face, and I don’t think you want to either,” she continues. “The sun causes wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tones, sagging skin and rough, leathery skin. These are all the things that will make you look older and definitely less sexy.”
Image: Teen wearing sunscreen, via Shutterstock
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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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