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NEW WRINKLE IN SUNSCREEN

Rating

3 Star

NEW WRINKLE IN SUNSCREEN

Our Review Summary

This story discusses the recent FDA approval of the sunscreen mexoryl, which reportedly provides better UVA protection than sunscreens currently available over the counter in the U.S. We are told why this sunscreen is better than existing sunscreens for preventing sun damage and certain types of skin cancer, but we are not told about studies that prove the newer sunscreen does a better job than existing UVA/UVB sunscreens with a higher SPF. FDA approval was based on 28 studies, but there is still some disagreement among scientists on how to measure UVA protection and its relative value. However, data from at least one of these studies comparing mexoryl against existing sunscreens should be available and noted in this story.

The story cites two dermatologists who discuss the value of mexoryl in sunscreen, and they appropriately caution readers about continued vigilance of avoiding excessive sun exposure. The story discusses the importance of both UVB and UVA sun protection and mentions other forms of chemical and physical sunscreens. The story also notes that those in the dermatology field would like to have mexoryl in a sunscreen with a higher SPF. Currently, it will only be available in SPF 15.

The story mentions that mexoryl has been available and safely used in Europe and Canada for 15+ years, though there is no mention of potential harms of this sunscreen. FDA approval was based on studies in over 2500 patients. Side effects in these studies were not serious and infrequent; however, they should still be listed as part of this story. The most common side effects in clinical trials were: dry skin, dermatitis, redness, eczema and sunburn.

The story mentions that Mexoryl in L’oreal’s moisturizer Anthelios SX will be available for sale Oct. 1, 2006. However, the story does not provide the cost of Anthelios SX. On Canadian websites, it costs between $30 and $45 depending on SPF and size. So, it is not going to be cheap in the US.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not provide the cost of Anthelios SX. The cost is between $30 and $45 depending on SPF and size on Canadian-based internet sites. So, it is not going to be cheap in the US.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not provide quantification of benefit. We are told why this sunscreen is better than existing sunscreens for preventing photodamage and skin cancer, but we are not told about studies that prove this to be the case.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention potential harms of using this new sunscreen. FDA approval was based on studies of over 2500 patients. Side effects in these studies were not serious and infrequent, however, they should be listed in this story. The most common side effects in clinical trials were: dry skin, dermatitis, redness, eczema, sunburn.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not provide evidence that this sunscreen works any better than existing sunscreens with higher SPF. FDA approval of mexoryl was based on 28 studies. Data from at least one of these studies comparing mexoryl against existing sunscreens should be available and noted in this story.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

The story does not engage in disease mongering. Sun protection in the form of more potent sunscreens and protective clothing is important to prevent many forms of skin cancer.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

The story cites two dermatologists who discuss the value of this new sunscreen. They caution readers to be vigilant about avoiding excessive sun exposure. The story also notes that those in the dermatology field would like to have mexoryl in a sunscreen with a higher SPF. Currently, it will only be available in SPF 15.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The story discusses the importance of both UVB and UVA protection and mentions other forms of chemical and physical sunscreens. The story also mentions the importance of wearing protective clothing in addition to sunscreen, and avoiding the sun during peak hours.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

The story mentions that mexoryl in L’Oreal’s moisturizer Anthelios SX will be available for sale Oct. 1, 2006.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The story mentions that mexoryl has been available and safely used in Europe and Canada for 15+ years.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

It does not appear that the story relied solely or largely on a press release for information. The story consults dermatologists not affiliated with the makers of Anthelios SX, as well as company representatives. The dermatologists who discuss the added benefit of the new sunscreen do not mention studies where mexoryl was proven better than existing sunscreens.

Total Score: 6 of 10 Satisfactory

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