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AAD urges athletes to practice sun safety

June 21, 2007 the American Academy of Dermatology published a news release on the increased risk of skin cancer in athletes.  Regardless of their sport, many athletes practice or train during peak hours when the UV index is the highest.  Bicycling, soccer, tennis, football, baseball, golf, and just about every other sport involve spending hours in the sun training and practicing.  Excessive sun exposure isnt the only factor affecting an athletes risk of skin cancer, sweating increases their risk as well.  According to the AAD, perspiration lowers a persons erythema dose, the lowest amount of UV exposure needed to turn skin pink.


As athletes of all ages and sports sweat it out in the sun, they are at an added risk for skin cancer.  It is imperative that they practice sun safety and take all precautions possible which include wearing UV protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, and a sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays.  The AAD also reminds athletes to take extra precautions around water and snow to protect from reflective sun exposure.


Source: The American Academy of Dermatology warns that skin cancer is leaving its mark on athletes. Retrieved June 25, 2007, from American Academy of Dermatology Web site:



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Sunscreen and bug repellent combos are bad news

Currently there are approximately 20 different sunscreen/insect repellent combination products available to consumers.  These products offer consumers the convenience of using one product instead of applying multiple products.  This is cause for concern since bug repellent and sunscreens have different labeling requirements and instructions. 


The ingredients used for sunscreen are monitored by the FDA and insect repellent ingredients are monitored by the EPA.  The EPA and FDA have expressed concern, and are seeking more information, about conflicts arising from the combined use of these ingredients. 


Application location is a concern.  Insect repellent should not be applied directly to the face, near ears, or over cuts.  Consumers are told to use repellent sparingly to avoid over application.  Conversely, sunscreen directions encourage consumers to apply liberally, directly to the face and ears, and over all exposed areas of skin.   


Application frequency is another area that needs to be addressed.  Insect repellents usually indicate reapplication at a minimum of 6 hour intervals whereas it is recommended that sunscreen be reapplied as often as needed after towel drying, swimming, or sweating with a maximum 2 hour interval.  Both of these areas of concern lead to effectiveness issues.  Not applying enough sunscreen in order to avoid overuse of the insect repellent may not protect from sunburn.  Applying too often to avoid sunburn may result in too much insect repellent.  Due to these concerns, the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised consumers to avoid using sunscreen/insect repellant combination products all together.  Both the EPA and FDA are seeking more information, and looking into several other areas of concern including manufacturing, formulation, and labeling conflicts.


For more detailed information visit the US Food and Drug Administrations website at 


Source: EPA. Insect repellent-sunscreen combination products; Request for information and comments. Federal Register 72:35(2007): 7979-83.


AAP Committee on Environmental Health, AAP Follow safety precautions when using DEET on children. AAP News 2003 22: 200399 Retrieved June 25, 2007, from American Academy of Pediatrics Web site:




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How to choose the best sunglasses for a child

Sunglasses are an important part of sun safety year round.  As we enter into the summer season, however, children are spending extra time outdoors making the need for sunglasses even more evident.  The effects of UVR exposure on eyes include cataracts and macular degeneration.  According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, children 10 and under are at high risk for eye damage from UVR and the damage from exposure is cumulative.  Damage occurs not only to their retinas, but also to the fragile skin around their eyes.  Up until the age of 10 the lenses of a childs eyes are clear and more susceptible to sun damage.  After that age their lenses become opaque which offers slightly more protection from UVR.


In order to protect the childrens eyes, and the sensitive skin area around their eyes, it is important to choose proper sunglasses for them.  As young as 6 months old, children should be wearing sunglasses.  The earlier children start wearing sunglasses, the more likely they are to leave them on, and develop a lifetime habit of protecting their eyes. 


The Skin Cancer Foundation makes several recommendations for choosing the best sunglasses.

For more information on sunglasses and important factors to consider when choosing them, click here.


Source: Choosing sunglasses for your kids. Retrieved June 25, 2007, from The Skin Cancer Foundation Web site:




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