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The Bottom Line On New FDA Sunscreen Guidelines

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. -Confucius

This is certainly true of sunscreens. “Broad spectrum, UVA, UVB, avobenzone, oxybenzone, parsol, sensitive skin, titanium dioxide, SPF 15, 30, 45, 50, 55, 60, 70, 75, 100, 100+, waterproof, sweatproof, spray, cream, lotion, antioxidant…”

We spend about $700 million in sunscreens every year, and many people don’t have a clue as to what’s good or bad, or a waste of money. The Food and Drug Administration has been meaning to help you out with this problem for a while now. Actually for over 30 years (who says nothing gets done in government?). The F.D.A. has made a final decision on sunscreen labels. They’ve sought to make labels simple and accurate to help you choose the right one:

1. The sunscreen must protect against both UVA and UVB rays; that is, it must be broad spectrum.

2. To be labelled as “protecting against skin cancer,” the sunscreen must be an SPF of at least 15. The labels will likely be capped at SPF 50 because SPFs greater than 50 seem to be of little additional benefit.

3. Sunscreens can no longer be labelled as “waterproof” or “sweat proof,” as neither is physically possible, therefore, rendering the claim “misleading.” Sunscreens will be labelled as effective in water for 40 minutes or 80 minutes which is accurate and much more useful.

This simple system should help consumers make better choices, but some say the F.D.A. didn’t go far enough. They did not comment on the safety of various sunscreen ingredients. They have also not loosened up enough to allow for other sunscreens that are widely used in Europe to be sold here in the U.S.

Do you think the F.D.A was too strict or didn’t go far enough?

Photo: Wandering Magpie, Flickr

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

Excess Sun Exposure Can Trigger Mole Development

Do you ever wish you didn’t have so many moles? It might be too late for you, but it doesn’t have to be for your kids. By reducing their sun exposure, you can reduce the number of moles (also called nevi) they develop.

Sunburns and excess sun exposure are triggers for moles to develop. Having lots of moles can be unsightly and increases their risk of developing melanoma later in life. Reducing excess sun will limit the number of moles they have and reduce their risk for melanoma many years from now.

Protect against sun to reduce moles.

Many of us grew up without good sunscreens (baby oil and iodine anyone?), but you can do so much more for your children: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

New Jersey Attempts To Outlaw Cosmetic Botox For Minors: Will The Legislation Work?

TRENTON — Minors in New Jersey wouldn’t be able to get Botox injections unless a doctor says it’s medically necessary and documents the reason, under a bill moving through the Assembly. The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee approved legislation Thursday to clamp down on doctors injecting people under 18 with botulinum toxin for cosmetic purposes. The Federal Drug Administration already bars anyone under 18 from getting Botox for cosmetic reasons. The new state legislation would go further by requiring doctors to document in a patient’s chart the noncosmetic medical reason for performing the procedure on a minor. Botox is used widely to smooth out facial wrinkles, but also can be used to treat headaches and spasms.
Source: app.com/article/20110520/NJNEWS10/305200023/Botox-regulations-minors-pass-NJ-committee
?odyssey=mod_sectionstories

This prospective law in New Jersey would make Botox injections illegal in minors without a doctor’s statement that it is medically necessary. Unfortunately this is not to say such a law would have the desired effect. There are docs who will write those “permit slips.” Watch how many of these Botox-using minors get headaches.

I am not really a fan of laws restricting the flow of medicines. I do not believe they work well. Then again Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Truth in Cosmetic Surgery*

A New DNA Test For Skin Cancer: Scotch Tape?

“I hate needles.” Patients say this to me everyday. When you think about it, who “likes” needles?

Skin biopsies are relatively painless, but they still involve the dreaded needle and always leave scars. The trouble is we dermatologists cannot guarantee that a mole isn’t skin cancer without sending a biopsy for pathology. That is, until now.

Although it is not available in clinic yet, an almost incredible new innovation might allow us to determine if a mole is cancerous by testing the DNA of the mole. It sounds like it’s from an episode of CSI, but it’s real.

Melanomas have DNA (messager-RNA to be exact, but it’s a little complicated) that differentiate them from normal moles, so testing the mole for melanoma requires only a tiny sample of skin. Fortunately, no needles are needed — in fact, no sharp objects are necessary at all. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

Nurse Struggles To Find Non-Clinical Work And Is Treated Badly

Right now, I have the perfect ER job. So, admitting that I can no longer physically handle working night shift or thinking that I have reached the end of my career in emergency nursing feels like failure.

But, I need to take care of myself, right?

So it’s time to be proactive and take the next step, right?

Time to take a breath, take stock of my skills, brush up that CV/resume and go forward! After all, I have 32 years of strong nursing experience behind me (including a stint as a shift charge nurse), that wonderful BSN I’m so proud of (and an MSN program pending), stunning communication skills (if I say so myself) and gosh darn it, anyone would be lucky to have me!

Yes?

Uh, no.

*****

I applied for jobs outside of acute care.

You know how new grads can’t find jobs because they all want experience, but they can’t get experience because they can’t get jobs? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Emergiblog*

Latest Interviews

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Latest Book Reviews

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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