Research Highlights: A Review of Sun Products and Exposures
Alexis Williams

Journal of the Dermatology Nurses' Association
December 2011 
Volume 3  Number 6
Pages 381 - 383
  PDF Version Available!

Loden, M., Beitner, H., Gonzalez, H., Edstrom, D. W., Akerstrom, U., Austad, J., et al. (2011). Sunscreen use: Controversies, challenges and regulatory aspects. The British Journal of Dermatology, 165(2), 255-262.Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation has been proven to have effects on human skin, which include photoaging, erythema, and various cutaneous malignancies. Modern lifestyles expose the vast majority of people to UV radiation, in both chronic and short (intense exposure) durations. The increasing life expectancy of our population has revealed many patients with effects of cumulative UV damage. This has brought about a movement toward protective measures, including sun avoidance practices, protective clothing, and sunscreen use.This article reviewed some of the controversies, current opinions, challenges, and regulations surrounding adequate sunscreen use. The authors examined sunscreen use in the European Union, at times, drawing comparisons with the United States and Australia.The article began by dispelling myths surrounding sunscreens that commonly surface as the summer months approach. The first concern addressed in the article was that sunscreens have toxic side effects when their chemical components, referred to as UV filters, penetrate the skin and enter the environment. The fear is that this results in both health concerns and negative impacts on the environment. The authors described the rigorous testing that sunscreens must endure to pass toxicological safety evaluation. Only those with a very high margin of safety are approved for human use. Often the UV filtering chemicals used do not reach the maximum allowable doses, making them safer than they are rated. They claim that no human data support UV filtering chemicals as having caused human endocrine side effects, such as interference with thyroid or sexual hormones. Increasing incidences of contact allergy and photoallergy because of the increasing use of daily facial sunscreens are noted, and

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