A recent investigation shows that the most popular sunscreens used by the American public don’t meet the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) standards. Including popular brands such as Neutrogena and Eucerin.

Protecting the skin is the primary factor to prevent skin cancer development. Nonetheless, a study made by researchers from the Northwestern University School of Medicine in Chicago determined that most users are not using the right protection.

A recent study suggests that the most popular sunscreens brands, such as Neutrogena and Eucerin, used by the American public don’t meet the AAD standards. Credit: Reference.com

The AAD has three basic standards when it comes to sunscreens. The product should have at least a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30; it should provide broad protection against A and B ultraviolet rays; and, it should be water and sweat resistant.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the country, according to the Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC). The main cause of the disease is exposure to ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun. However, genetics is also a leading cause.

For the study, authors took the top selling sunscreens at Amazon.com, that are equivalent to the 9% of all sunscreens purchases. The 65 top-rated products were obtained from the websites rate as of December 2015.

Customer reviews were also an important factor in the research, to determine whether the public was choosing the right product for the right reasons.  The research led by Shuai Xi, a dermatologist from Northwestern University, evaluated the 1 percent of the 6,500 products available on the website.

Skin cancer as a public concern

According to researchers, almost 40 percent of the top-selling items didn’t meet the AAD safety standards since the majority of them are not water nor sweat resistant. 90 percent of all products were at least 30 SPF and had broad protection spectrum, yet only 62 remained after exposed to water.

“The most common reason that products in the study failed to meet the academy’s criteria was that they could be rinsed away by water or sweat,” said the lead author of the study Shuai Xi.

Almost 5.5 million Americans suffer from skin cancer every year. The most common type of skin cancer is what specialists call “nonmelanoma skin cancer,” which generally responds to treatment and remains on one part of the body.

Melanoma skin cancer is an aggressive form of the disease that can spread to other tissues and parts of the body. Even though this is not the most common type of the disease, its numbers are increasing.

It is more common for Americans to develop skin cancer than to develop any other kind of the disease, such as breast or prostate cancer that also are high rated. According to the L.A times, only 3 out of 10 adults wear sunscreen to protect themselves.

Researchers analyzed customers reviews of sunscreens, finding that consumers were more interested in style factors or if the product is hard to apply, more than the protection factors.

After concluding the investigation, researchers strongly advised dermatologists to educate patients about skin cancer and skin protection, especially on choosing the right product to avoid a possible disease.

Symptoms and prevention 

Like the majority of cancer types, early detection is the most important factor in the disease. That’s why learning about the disease and preventing it, plays a key role. Since skin cancer is easy to see under the eye, spotting its symptoms is not a difficult job,

Physicians recommend regular visits to the doctor, especially if a person finds unusual moles on their body or growths on the existing ones. Dermatologists are the health professionals on analyzing these issues.

The first and most evident symptom of nonmelanoma skin cancer, is an unusual skin growth, bump, sore or mole in the body. Carcinomas of the neck or in the head might appear as a lighter patch of skin, in a translucent way, that allows seeing blood vessels. Carcinomas can depend on the location they appear on.

The Cancer Center website offers a simple way to spot skin cancer called the ABCD rule, which reads A for asymmetry in a mole, B for border on blurred or irregular edges, C for color on moles and D for diameter of moles, if the patient spot a mole larger than 6 mm it might be time to check with a physician. Redness, swelling, itching, pain or texture are also symptoms of the disease.

Prevention guidelines for skin cancer mostly focus on protecting the skin in particular between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., where the sunlight hits harder on the skin. Avoid sunburns and tanning in UB beds, covering the skin with large clothing when exposed to the sun.

Sunscreen is the main way of preventing skin cancer, especially with the recommended guidelines, having a broad protection spectrum (higher than 30) and applying 1 ounce of the product on the body at least half an hour before exposing.

Source: LA Times