The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
A New Sunscreen Agent
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Revised 10/10/07: See last two sentences in the USE OF SUNSCREENS paragraph regarding sunscreens and DEET.

Ecamsule (terephthalylidene dicamphor sulfonic acid), the first new sunscreen agent to be approved by the FDA in 18 years, is now available in the US in a moisturizer called Anthelios SX. Ecamsule has been used in Canada and Europe for more than 10 years.

ULTRAVIOLET (UV) RADIATION — Solar UV radiation capable of injuring the skin is classified by wavelength into UVA1 (340-400 nm), UVA2 (320-340 nm) and UVB (290-320 nm). UVA, which makes up 95% of terrestrial UV radiation and penetrates into the dermis, is primarily responsible for photoaging and phototoxicity. UVB, which is largely absorbed in the epidermis, is responsible for most of the erythema of sunburn, but UVA2 is also erythemogenic. Both UVA and UVB can damage DNA, suppress immune function and cause skin cancer in animals.1 UVB is present primarily in spring and summer in temperate climates and is strongest at midday; UVA is ... more      

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