A panel of dermatologists and photobiologists has developed consensus statements regarding sunscreen use and the associated risks from sun exposure, as reported in study findings published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The research group conducted a literature review and used the Delphi method to create 9 consensus statements on aspects of photoprotection that have not been specifically addressed in current guidance.

The panel issued the following statements:


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  1. Ultraviolet A/ultraviolet B (UVA/UVB) protection alone is not sufficient for overall skin health, especially in dark skin types.
  2. UV and visible light (VL) generate reactive species (ie, reactive oxygen and nitrogen species) that contribute to skin damage and skin dyspigmentation (eg, hyperpigmentation, melasma, uneven skin tones, photoaging, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation [PIH]); therefore, emerging types of photoprotection, including those containing stable and physiologically active oral and/or topical antioxidants, should be considered.
  3. There are misconceptions surrounding the need for the use of photoprotection for dark skin types.
  4. There are major gaps in photoprotection products for both UV and VL.
  5. Photoprotection education and evaluation should be included as part of overall patient skin assessments.
  6. A personalized photoprotection regimen should be recommended for all Fitzpatrick skin types.
  7. Additional training/education for dermatologists and other clinicians in photoprotection and impact of VL is needed.
  8. Additional research in photoprotection and the biologic effects of sunlight is needed.
  9. Patients should be educated about the potential role of VL’s impact on overall skin health, including induction and/or exacerbation of multiple skin conditions: hyperpigmentation, melasma, PIH, uneven skin tone, and photoaging, especially in Fitzpatrick skin types IV-VI.

The panel was selected from multiple regions of the United States with the goal of having a multidisciplinary group of leaders from academia and private practice in the fields of dermatologic impact in skin of color, photoprotection, and photobiology.

The investigators noted that the size of their panel was small and included only US dermatologists.

“It is increasingly recognized that sun care should be personalized based on Fitzpatrick skin type, degree of sun exposure, and utility of individual sunscreen formulations and ingredients,” stated the researchers. “The knowledge base surrounding the effects of UV and VL on skin is expanding, but gaps in understanding remain for both clinicians and, more prominently, patients.”

These gaps are especially evident in persons with dark skin types who have a risk for pigmentation problems from VL and frequently believe that the higher degree of melanin in their skin protects them from the harmful effects of sun exposure, according to the research group.

“There is a need to not only educate but to also dispel myths about sun care needs,” the panel commented. “New approaches—including novel ingredients and formulations, more balanced UVB/UVA, and VL protection—are under investigation to address gaps in care for specific skin types.”

Disclosure: This study is published as part of a supplement sponsored by Beiersdorf Inc. Several of the study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.

Reference

Taylor S, Lim H, Alexis A, et al. Photoprotection for skin of all color: consensus and clinical guidance from an expert panel. J Am Acad Dermatol. Published online December 20, 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2021.12.019