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The Urgency of New Strategies in Sun Care
By: Marie Alice Dibon
Posted: June 4, 2010, from the June 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.
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Yet, the media impact is here and there is definitely a public health problem; the most conservative estimates are that 10% of the population are deficient, but there is a general consensus that a 40-50% number would probably be accurate.1,2 There is no doubt, however, that supplementation of vitamin D is also a concern. But despite repeated government campaigns aimed at nutrition, the situation isn’t changing.
Despite years of public health campaigns to warn the public about the dangerous effects of the sun, widespread industry efforts to improve the quality (efficacy and acceptability, mainly) of sunscreen products, an increasing awareness of ozone layer depletion problems, and constant publications on the relationship between sun exposure and skin aging, a large fringe of the population isn’t getting adequate sun protection. The ever increasing skin cancer rate is a testament to this. More than 1 million non-melanoma skin cancers are diagnosed each year. In 1930, 1 in 5,000 Americans was likely to develop melanoma during their lifetime. By 2004, that rate had jumped to 1 in 65. Melanoma is the second most common cancer amongst women age 20-29.3
And the numbers are not improving because a large part of the population is still not using enough sunscreen.4
Choosing between vitamin D deficiency and skin cancer seems to have divided populations into two distinct categories, which complicates the issues a great deal in terms of communication and solutions. When it comes to sun care, however, other problems besides skin cancer and vitamin D deficiency have arisen that may very well mean trouble for the sun care brand owners if they don’t pay very close attention to the health and environmental impacts of existing sunscreens.
Health and Environmental Impact of Existing Sunscreens