Sunscreen smarts

March 21, 2017

By Bob Kronemyer – Modern Medicine Network

Sunscreen - 1200x628

Do dermatologists believe that high-SPF sunscreens provide an additional margin of safety? How safe are sunscreens that contain oxybenzone? These answers and more appear in the results of a recent survey in the January edition of JAMA Dermatology.

“Multiple professional organizations, including the American Academy of Dermatology, as well as dermatologists themselves, have recommended patient counseling regarding the use of sunscreen,” write the authors from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. “However, there have been other conflicting messages about sunscreen (sometimes without scientific support) that have led to confusion by the public.”

Case in point, of the 156 dermatologists included in the outcome analyses, 99% believe that their patients generally do not apply sufficient sunscreen.

As for patient counseling, 97% of dermatologists indicate they are comfortable recommending sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 50, and 83.3% believe that high-SPF sunscreens provide an additional margin of safety.

When recommending sunscreen, dermatologists consider several factors, including SPF level (99%), broad-spectrum protection (96%), cosmetic elegance and/or feel (71%) and photostability (42%).

As for the doctors themselves, they have good intentions, but don’t always follow through. In their own outdoor use, 100% of dermatologists select a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, but only 76% admit to routinely applying sunscreen more than half the time.

Other points that dermatologists agree on include:

  • Routine use of sunscreen helps lower the risk of skin cancer (97%)
  • Sunscreen reduces subsequent photoaging (100%)
  • FDA-approved sunscreens currently available in the U.S. are safe (96%)
  • Sunscreens containing oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate are safe (91% and 87%, respectively)

In addition to counseling patients, 99% of respondents also recommend that their family and friends use sunscreen.

There were no significant differences in responses based on geographic location or number of years in practice.

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation