Sunscreen Use Up, But Patients Still Feel the Burn

OTC GuideJune 2012
Volume 16
Issue 1

Despite an increase in certain sunburn prevention methods, half of young adults sustain at least 1 sunburn per year, according to the results of 2 studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute released in the May 11, 2012, Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report.

Using sunscreen and staying in the shade were the most common behaviors for preventing sunburn among women, whereas wearing wide-brimmed hats and ankle-length clothing were the least common.

Men most often favored wearing ankle-length pants, along with wearing sunscreen and staying in the shade as methods of avoiding sunburn. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and wearing longsleeved shirts were the least common methods of sun protection among men.

“More public health efforts, including providing shade and sunscreen in recreational settings, are needed to raise awareness of the importance of sun protection and sunburn prevention to reduce the burden of skin cancer,” said Marcus Plescia, MD, MPH, director of the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “We must accelerate our efforts to educate young adults about the dangers of indoor tanning to prevent melanoma as this generation ages.”

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 1 million people tan in indoor tanning salons on an average day in the United States. Of these, almost 70% are Caucasian women and girls aged 16 to 29 years. Currently, Vermont and California are the only states to prohibit indoor tanning for individuals younger than 18 years.

In addition, it is estimated that 76,250 individuals will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2012. Because tanning occurs year round, pharmacists can encourage the use of sunscreen, along with behavior modifications that help prevent skin damage, in all seasons.

Pharmacy Times author Yvette Terrie provides an important resource for pharmacists with her article “Protecting Your Skin: What Every Patient Needs to Know About Melanoma.” Designed for patients, this helpful guide includes important information about sun protection, as well as facts about the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of melanoma. Resources for more information about skin cancer are also provided. The article is available on www.PharmacyTimes .com at

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