By Ronald L. Moy, MD, AAD President, August 01, 2011
On June 14, along with Henry W. Lim, MD, the chair of our Council on Science and Research, I was honored to participate in the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement of new rules for sunscreens. The new rules, which define what the term “broad spectrum” will mean on sunscreen labels and the test that products will have to pass to earn it, eliminate the use of misleading terms like “waterproof,” “sunblock,” “all-day protection” and “sweatproof,” and add information to sunscreen labels about their potential to protect users from skin cancer and premature aging, are a welcome addition to the sun-protection information available to the public.
The FDA’s announcement was an important culmination of our advocacy and patient education efforts on the issue. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the years of effort by many at the Academy in getting us to this point, and especially to Darrell Rigel, MD, and Dr. Lim for their assistance in preparing us for the announcement. It was an honor to be a strategic partner to the FDA. We appreciated the opportunity to spotlight the specialty, educate the public, and strengthen our relationship with the FDA — all at the same time. I’m delighted that the FDA is making it easier for the public and our patients to choose an effective sunscreen and, at the same time, emphasizing the other important UVR-protection activities, including seeking shade, and wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses.
The announcement came on the heels of the Academy’s public awareness campaign emphasizing the dangers of indoor tanning. The public service advertisements in the campaign, which have already earned the Academy a record-breaking $20 million in donated media and been seen nearly 300 million times, tell the heart-breaking story of Jaime Regen Rea, who died from melanoma just before her 30th birthday. Its success is likely to continue this summer and fall as the sunscreen announcement highlights the importance of UVR protection to prevent skin cancer; in the meantime our Council on Communications is working on our next campaign, scheduled for release in 2012.[pagebreak]
The relaunch of AAD.org earlier this year gave the Academy the opportunity to enhance what we offer the public online, making the site a one-stop resource for anyone seeking information about caring for their skin, hair, and nails. Dermatology A to Z, featured on the front page of AAD.org, offers information on everything from acne to xerosis, and new conditions are being added frequently. The site also offers a wealth of information on skin cancer detection and prevention at www.aad.org/skin-care-and-safety/skin-cancer-prevention, as well as our Media Relations Toolkit, located at www.aad.org/member-tools-and-benefits/media-relations-toolkit. The toolkit can help you answer questions you might receive from reporters and your patients about sunscreens, sun safety, and other hot topics in the news.
One of the Academy’s latest public awareness efforts is an online video to urge patients to select a qualified physician for a cosmetic treatment, available at www.aad.org/skin-care-and-safety/skin-health-tips/who-should-be-providing-your-cosmetic-treatment-faqs. The Academy recommends that consumers ask a series of questions and consider the training and credentials before they decide if a physician is the right choice for them.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to take a simple but very important step to help advance our patient education and awareness efforts. Sustaining Fund donors play a vital role in the Academy’s public awareness activities, providing the support that helps us to sound the alarm about the dangers of tanning and the importance of skin cancer prevention and early detection. Make a donation today at www.AADdevelopment.org/SustainingFund.html or contact Jessica TenBusch at (847) 240-1409 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Your support will make a difference in someone’s life.