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American Academy of Dermatology Association statement on sunscreen access

ROSEMONT, Ill. (May 4, 2018) — Statement from Suzanne M. Olbricht, MD, FAAD, president, American Academy of Dermatology Association

The American Academy of Dermatology Association is concerned that the public’s risk of developing skin cancer could increase due to potential new restrictions in Hawaii that impact access to sunscreens with ingredients necessary for broad-spectrum protection, as well as the potential stigma around sunscreen use that could develop as a result of these restrictions. Sadly, the death rate from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, in Hawaii is already 30 percent higher than the national average.

The AADA wants the public to know that sunscreen remains a safe, effective form of sun protection. As one component of a daily sun protection strategy, sunscreen is an important tool in the fight against skin cancer. Claims that sunscreen ingredients currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are toxic to the environment or a hazard to human health have not been proven. Furthermore, scientific evidence supports the benefits of applying sunscreen to minimize short- and long-term damage to the skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

Research indicates that about 95 percent of melanoma cases are attributable to UV exposure, so the AADA encourages everyone to protect themselves from the sun by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Those who are concerned about the potential new sunscreen restrictions in Hawaii can choose sunscreens with ingredients other than oxybenzone and octinoxate, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. We also encourage the public to closely read product labeling, use products as directed, and contact a board-certified dermatologist if they have any questions.

Although there are many safe and effective sunscreen products on the market, the AADA continues to support the introduction of new sunscreen ingredients in the United States. The best sunscreen is the one that individuals will use every day. The more sun protection options consumers have at their disposal, the more likely they will be to find an option they like and will use regularly.

About the AADA
Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential and most representative of all dermatologic associations. A sister organization to the Academy, the American Academy of Dermatology Association is the resource for government affairs, health policy and practice information for dermatologists, and plays a major role in formulating policies that can enhance the quality of dermatologic care. With a membership of more than 19,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to excellence in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of skin disease; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education and research in medical dermatology, surgical dermatology and dermatopathology; and supporting and enhancing patient care to reduce the burden of disease.  For more information, contact the Academy at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin) and YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).