Faced with increasing rates of skin cancer among Americans, the National Society for Cutaneous Medicine (NSCM) recently surveyed dermatologists nationwide to provide a unified perspective on how individuals and families can enjoy the sun responsibly and help prevent skin cancer and melanoma.

“Every year, I see many patients who have questions about sun protection because of the many misperceptions related to sunscreen,” said Dr. Darrell Rigel, MD, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at New York University Medical School and Society board member. “As medical professionals, we base our advice and recommendations on clinically proven science and research. The purpose of this survey was to determine the opinions on sunscreen safety and effectiveness from the experts who understand skin and sun protection best.”

The survey results show overwhelming support from dermatologists for facts around sunscreens that are often times misinterpreted, including:

  • 99% dermatologists agree that regular use of sunscreens helps lower skin cancer risk.
  • Nearly all dermatologists (96%) consider FDA approved sunscreens currently available in the U.S. to be safe, including those with filters like oxybenzone and avobenzone.
  • Virtually all (99%) dermatologists recommend their family and friends use sunscreen to help protect their skin.
  • Dermatologists cite SPF levels as one of the main criteria that they regularly use to recommend a sunscreen. Overall, 92% are comfortable recommending sunscreens with a SPF 50 or higher.

“Skin cancer rates are rapidly increasing with more than 350 cases diagnosed each hour. 1 in 5 Americans will get this cancer during their lifetime,” said Dr. Rigel. “Making smart choices about sunscreen is one of the most important decisions people can make when it comes to preventing skin cancer. It’s important that people have the best information to lower their skin cancer risk.”

When choosing sunscreens this summer, the NSCM recommends you use the following strategies as you make choices about sun protection and skin cancer prevention:

  • Don’t just rely on sunscreen rankings or reports, speak with your dermatologist for information on the best sunscreen choices for you.
  • Make sure sunscreen labels list UVA and UVB (or broad spectrum) protection and a minimum of SPF 30. Consider using SPF 50+ if you are outdoors for an extended period.
  • Choose the formulation – stick, lotion or spray – that is the product you and your family will be most likely to regularly use.
  • Start sun protection early in life. Just 1-2 severe sunburns can increase the risk of melanoma later in life by 40 percent.

The survey instrument was validated and sent by email in April 2016 to practicing U.S. dermatologists using the same methodology as in recent published studies. Also, a contracted survey company was employed to assist in collecting and organizing responses in order to minimize error. The survey assessed each dermatologist’s perception of sunscreen, recommendation factors, and personal and family usage. Data were analyzed using standard statistical methods with 95% confidence intervals.

About the National Society for Cutaneous Medicine:
The National Society for Cutaneous Medicine is dedicated to education in dermatology by holding national conferences with top faculty to teach every aspect of dermatology including pediatric dermatology, medical dermatology, surgical dermatology, dermatologic oncology, cosmetic dermatology, and dermatopathology. The goals of the organization are to aid in the advancement and dissemination of knowledge in the area of dermatology to medical professionals and interested members of the public, to support and encourage the best practice of dermatology through education and research, and to enhance public knowledge information of cutaneous disorders. The National Society for Cutaneous Medicine is recognized by the IRS as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.

SOURCE National Society for Cutaneous Medicine