Archive for June, 2011

A Happy, HEALTHY Father’s Day for Dad AND Kids

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Our best wishes for a happy and HEALTHY Father’s Day!  And apropos to that, WebMD posted an excellent reminder about the need to protect young children from the sun because “the changes that lead to skin cancer may actually begin during baby’s first year, when an infant’s skin is most vulnerable to burns and sun damage, according to a new report in the July issue of Pediatrics.”  So, here’s a reminder of best sun safety practices for kids…and even kids at heart:

“A child’s skin has structural quality that makes it more vulnerable to the effects of UV radiation, and this can result in an increased risk of later skin cancer,” said Roya Samuels, MD, a pediatrician at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park.

New York City dermatologist Doris Day, MD, says that “newborns, infants, and toddlers have skin that is continuing to develop…and it is really important to protect it,” she says.

However,  it’s not easy to find sunscreen for infants and toddlers: “Sunscreens for infants must be non-irritating to the skin and eyes…” For both these reasons, for the first six months, infants should be covered from direct sun via clothing, hats, etc., This is also important since harmful rays can penetrate car and home windows. (Consider clear protective window coatings.)

EWG-dadimage Then, in selecting a sunscreen, with a minimum SPF of 15, many parents “may prefer that infant sunscreen leave a temporary film so they can be sure all exposed body parts are well covered. In addition, water-resistance is an important quality for infant and toddler sunscreens….” as is the need to ensure a sunscreen blocks against both UVA and UVB rays.  The thicker zinc- or titanium-based products are more opaque and sit on skin more than getting absorbed.  “…And zinc and titanium don’t irritate the eyes as much because they tend to stay in place.”  babyganics-coverup-baby-sunscreen-mdn

We shared the Environmental Working Guide’s new rating of more than 1,000 sun products in our last post.  And The Daily Green culled through that list to post their selections from that list of the 13 most affordable natural kid and baby sunscreens with mineral sunblocks.

As mentioned in WebMD:

Ravinder Khaira, MD, a pediatrician with Sutter Independent Physicians in Sacramento, Calif., says that applying sunscreen — and reapplying it according to the directions — is the No. 1 way to prevent sunburn and sun damage that can lead to skin cancers when children grow up.

Take special care to cover their ears, nose, and scalp, he says.

Young children do have highly sensitive skin, so it’s a good idea to do a small patch test before slathering on a new sunscreen. “Test it on the forearm and wait about 30 to 40 minutes to see if any hives, swelling, redness, or itchiness occur,” Khaira says.

If children get sunscreen in their eyes, flush their eyes and face with cold water to minimize any irritation, he says.

It’s not always easy being a dad…or a mom.  But once the kids are slathered up, you can sit back and rest.  For a second.

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In the News…

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

For those in the New York/New Jersey area, if you’re near Grand Central Station today, June 9th, consider stopping by the Skin Cancer Foundation skin cancer awareness expo and pick up some information to share with loved ones…and some free samples of sunscreen!

And area readers may have seen a profile of yours truly, which ran on on Sunday.  I share this because it enabled me to explain the reason I’m passionate about MoleSafe, and how it came about.Three Questions: Dr. Richard Craig Bezozo | NJ.com_1307591353666

More importantly, it hopefully brought a little more awareness about this important screening technique to more people.

There’s been more exciting news in the area of Melanoma research and treatment.  I’ll share that later this week….

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There’s an App – and a list – for that Sunscreen

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Note:  Since we posted the below entry, good news: the FDA has now announced their new guidelines which will include mandatory labeling by the summer of 2012.  Here’s an excellent overview from ABC:

In the meantime, please remember to review your choices, and keep applying that sunscreen!

The Environmental Working Group’s guide to effective and less-toxic or non-toxic sunscreens is out again with additional options on this 2011 version. This comprehensive list, and associated articles, does an excellent job of explaining the challenges with both the FDA’s progress in setting standards for sun-protection products…and consumers’ understanding of the elements that go into that sunscreen — good or bad.

Even since we shared their 2010 list last May, more outcry has been heard about a common ingredient in many mainstream sunscreens, that is a derivative of Vitamin A: Retinyl palmitate.  In fact, in June of last year, Senator Chuck Schumer called on the FDA to investigate it, as mentioned in this release from his office:

Retinyl palmitate is an ingredient found in most of the 500 most popular sunscreen products. Scientists at both the NCTR and the NTP have been working diligently over the last decade at the FDA’s request in order to determine whether this Vitamin A derivative, retinyl palmitate, is safe to use in sunscreen products. In one study, tumors and lesions developed up to 21 percent faster in lab animals coated in retinyl palmitate-laced cream than animals treated with a cream that did not contain RP. While these studies have been completed for almost a year now, the FDA has not issued an assessment of ruling on either of them….

Schumer added, “Millions of Americans use sunscreen to keep themselves and their families protected from the dangers of too much sun. If the product they are using is doing more harm than good, they have a right to know.”

Of course, there is NO safe way to TRY to tan, just as the American Academy of Dermatology says. But in tan PREVENTION, there are things to consider.  Here’s something from a section on their Website about sunscreen, that you might not have known:

Q: When should sunscreen be used?
A: Sunscreen should be applied every day to exposed skin, and not just if you are going to be in the sun. UVB rays cannot penetrate glass windows, but UVA rays can, leaving you prone to these damaging effects if unprotected.

For days when you are going to be indoors, apply sunscreen on the areas not covered by clothing, such as the face and hands. Sunscreens can be applied under makeup, or alternatively, there are many cosmetic products available that contain sunscreens for daily use. Sun protection is the principal means of preventing premature aging and skin cancer. It’s never too late to protect yourself from the sun and minimize your future risk of skin cancer.

Don’t reserve the use of sunscreen only for sunny days. Even on a cloudy day, up to 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds. In addition, sand reflects 25 percent of the sun’s rays and snow reflects 80 percent of the sun’s rays.

So, as the inquiry continues, we, again, are of the belief that smart skin cancer prevention tactics start with covering up and include generous use of sunscreen. Of those, perhaps making a more natural choice of mineral (titanium dioxide, for example) vs non-mineral protection is a better option.  The  introductory paragraph to the Environmental Working Group’s guide says it all:

The best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. No chemicals to absorb through the skin, no questions about whether they work. But when you can’t get away from exposing your skin to the sun, use EWG’s top-rated sunscreens to provide broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB-sunburn) protection with fewer hazardous chemicals that penetrate the skin. Sunscreen and sunblock makers are awaiting FDA approval for a wider selection of UVA-blocking chemicals. In the meantime, all [the Guide's] top-rated products contain either zinc or titanium minerals to help cut UVA exposures for sunscreen users.

PS: And now, yes, “there’s an app for that.”  EWG Sunscreen Buyer's Guide for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store_1307304366893The EWG Sunscreen guide reviews some 1700 products, so keeping them straight at the point of purchase will be easier for iPhone owners now.  Check it out in iTunes app store, for free.   

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