Roundup: Fake Sunscreens, Lung Cancer Rates and Sleep Health

FDA: Do Not Use Sunscreen Supplements or Pills; They Don’t Work

There is no such thing as effective sunscreen supplements or pills, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said this week it’s alerting companies that sell them to stop. These so-called sunscreen-in-a-pill supplements are fakes, and people should not fall for the scam, the FDA said.

The FDA said that these companies — marketing products called Advanced Skin Brightening Formula, Sunsafe Rx, Solaricare and Sunergetic — were instructed to correct all violations associated with their products and were advised to review product websites and product labeling to ensure that the claims they are making don’t violate federal law.

These companies are “misleading consumers, and putting people at risk,” the agency added. Legitimate sunscreens are made in a wide range of sun protection factor (SPF) values, and are over-the-counter drugs that include lotions, creams, sticks and sprays, the FDA said.

“All of these formulations are applied topically over the skin and must pass certain tests before they’re sold,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., in a statement. “All sunscreens are tested to measure the amount of UV radiation exposure it takes to cause sunburn when using a sunscreen compared to how much UV exposure it takes to cause a sunburn when not using a sunscreen.”

Over the years, the FDA has updated the labeling requirements placed on sunscreens marketed without approved applications to reflect the latest science on UV exposure. Additionally, the FDA has issued guidance to the industry describing the agency’s enforcement approach related to over-the-counter sunscreen products.

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High Lung Cancer Rates Among Young Women Concerning,’ New Data Shows

The pattern of higher rates of lung cancer in men than women has reversed somewhat, new data shows. Rates of lung cancer are higher among women born since the mid-1960s, according to the new study jointly conducted by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.

Moreover, the findings “are not fully explained by sex differences in smoking behaviors,” the researchers concluded.

“Future studies are needed to identify reasons for the higher incidence of lung cancer among young women,” the study says.

Lung cancer causes more preventable deaths than any other cancer in the United States, and cigarette smoking contributes to about 80 percent of the 154,000 total deaths it causes each year.

Over the past two decades, the incidence of lung cancer has generally decreased among both men and women, 30 to 54 years of age, in all races and ethnic groups, but the declines among men have been steeper, the study reads. The data analyzed included all cases of invasive lung cancer diagnosed in people ages 30 to 54, from 1995 through 2014, in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

The higher incidence of lung cancer among young women is especially remarkable among Hispanics, “given that among young adults, smoking prevalence is substantially lower among Hispanic women than among Hispanic men,” the study found.

“Our finding also calls for continued monitoring of sex-specific risks of lung cancer and for etiologic studies, including studies of sex differences in smoking-related susceptibility to lung cancer, to identify reasons for the higher rates of lung cancer among young women,” the study said.

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Sleeping In’ on Weekends May Not Be a Bad Thing, New Study Indicates

A new study counters the prevailing school of thought among healthcare professionals who insist that making up for sleep lost during the week by oversleeping on weekends is not healthy.

Sleep researchers from the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University in Sweden reviewed data from more than 43,000 adults collected. Then they found out what happened to those participants 13 years later by looking at the national death registery.

They found the adults under age 65 who only got five hours of sleep or fewer a night, seven days a week, had a higher risk of death than those who consistently got six or seven hours. But those who made up for lost sleep on Saturdays and Sundays by “sleeping in” had no elevated mortality risk, compared to the steady sleepers. The study was published in the Journal of Sleep Research.

“The results imply that short (weekday) sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep,” wrote the authors, led by Torbjörn Åkerstedt. “This suggests that short weekday sleep may be compensated for during the weekend, and that this has implications for mortality.”

Nonetheless, sleep specialists continue to advise consistency is key, and there is no substitute for having a regular sleep pattern throughout the week. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to a higher risk of obesity, heart disease and brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

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