Do You Know How Well Your Sunscreen Works?

Skin diseases caused by sun exposure include melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, photoaging, as well as sunburn and many other conditions. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US. The vast majority of mutations found in melanoma, according to a 2009 study published in Nature [1], are caused by UV radiation.

Currently, commercial sunscreens are composed of physical sunblocks including zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and chemical UV (ultraviolet lights) absorbers/filters such as octinoxate for UVB and benzophenone for UVA. The compositions of commercial sunscreen products are disclosed by the manufacturer and regulated by the health product regulatory authorities such the FDA in the US. The UV absorbers/filters are organic chemicals that absorb UV lights within a very limited range of wavelength. Consequently, a combination of different chemicals is needed to achieve “broad-spectrum” protection.

Currently the FDA required test of effectiveness of UV protection measures only UVB, which means there is no way of knowing how effective a sunscreen product is against cancer-causing UVA and damaging visible lights [2]. Even though the life style changes in recent time result in more damaging light exposure such as extended sun bathing on beach or tanning in beauty saloons, etc., only 3 new sunscreen active components (and none of new chemical class) have been introduced to the US market in more than 3 decades. There seems to be a gap between the need and the effort for developing substantially improved skin protection products.

1. Pleasance, E.D., R.K. Cheetham, P.J. Stephens, D.J. McBride, S.J. Humphray, C.D. Greenman, I. Varela, M.L. Lin, G.R. Ordonez, G.R. Bignell, K. Ye, J. Alipaz, M.J. Bauer, D. Beare, A. Butler, R.J. Carter, L. Chen, A.J. Cox, S. Edkins, P.I. Kokko-Gonzales, N.A. Gormley, R.J. Grocock, C.D. Haudenschild, M.M. Hims, T. James, M. Jia, Z. Kingsbury, C. Leroy, J. Marshall, A. Menzies, L.J. Mudie, Z. Ning, T. Royce, O.B. Schulz-Trieglaff, A. Spiridou, L.A. Stebbings, L. Szajkowski, J. Teague, D. Williamson, L. Chin, M.T. Ross, P.J. Campbell, D.R. Bentley, P.A. Futreal, and M.R. Stratton, A comprehensive catalogue of somatic mutations from a human cancer genome. Nature. 463(7278): p. 191-6.
2. Botta, C., C. Di Giorgio, A.S. Sabatier, and M. De Meo, Genotoxicity of visible light (400-800 nm) and photoprotection assessment of ectoin, L-ergothioneine and mannitol and four sunscreens. J Photochem Photobiol B, 2008. 91(1): p. 24-34.

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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 Open Forum

2 Comments to Do You Know How Well Your Sunscreen Works?

blogadmin
August 11, 2010

From AlleleNews 08/11/10 http://www.allelebiotech.com/News/ link to http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v28/n8/full/nbt0810-763.html

Industry makes strides in melanoma. 24 month survival rate up to 24% from 14%.

blogadmin
August 12, 2010

From Bio SmartBrief: U.S. and Italian scientists said they were able to kill melanoma cells taken from mice and humans by injecting salmonella bacteria. The salmonella works by boosting in tumor cells the amount of connexin 43, a protein that helps form communication channels between cells and triggers immune cells against cancer cells. They said the technique might help develop a new treatment that belongs to a group of immunotherapies or therapeutic vaccines.

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