Sunburn and Sun Poisoning (cont.)

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Do sunscreens expire?

Sunscreens may degrade over time or after long exposure to sun and heat. The bottle should not be kept in the car or under direct sun exposure for a long period of time. If the expiration date has passed, the product should be discarded. Sunscreens generally expire or lose their effectiveness after about three years.

Can antioxidants protect against sunburn?

Antioxidants are agents that can prevent certain harmful reactions in the body. The formation of some potentially harmful molecules, called free radicals, is one of these reactions. Antioxidants are natural agents that may prevent or reduce this formation.

Some of sun damage is a result of this reaction. Oral or topical antioxidants (vitamins A, C, and E, and green tea) may theoretically protect the skin against sunburn. Clinical data is not sufficient to support their use instead of or in addition to, traditional sunscreen.

REFERENCES:

CDC.gov. Sunburn and Sun Protective Behaviors Among Adults Aged 18 - 29 Years - United States, 2000 - 2010.

eMedicine.com. Drug-Induced Photosensitivity.

FDA.gov. FDA Sheds Light on Sunscreens

National Cancer Institute. Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results. SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Melanoma of the Skin.

The American Academy of Dermatology

Previous contributing author: Siamak T. Nabili, MD, MPH


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/19/2012

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