A Decade of Challenge – The Uncertain Future of Sun Protection
It is extraordinary to think that the first Sun Protection Conference was held 30 years ago (in London, 1993)! In the intervening years, the Sun Conference has been both a thermometer and thermostat for the science and practice of photoprotection – capturing, biennially, the global zeitgeist in this space but, more importantly, also shaping progress in the proceeding months and years.
Since 1993, the Sun Conference stage has hosted world-class papers reporting the latest advances in the understanding of the mechanisms behind skin cancer and photo-ageing, the testing and labelling of SPF / UVA / water resistance / photostability, innovation towards true broad-spectrum photoprotection, increasingly elegant, aesthetically-pleasing technology and more.
We now face a decade of unprecedented challenge. Climate change, conflicts and migration will accelerate and continue to shape the pattern and dose of human exposure to solar UVR, globally. The palette of UVR filters we have relied on to date faces formidable headwinds, with a raft of questions around the human and environmental safety profiles of these molecules, demanding a staggering breadth and burden of data in a seemingly-impossible time-scale. The prospect of innovation to replenish this palette is beset with a host of practical and regulatory constraints. Consumer surveys continue to report lasting consumer confusion over the labelling and language we use to communicate the need for and level of protection. The digital / AI revolution will continue apace, allowing unprecedented dissemination of genuine scientific discovery and ‘fake news’ alike, but also revolutionising the diagnosis of skin disorders and re-defining the types of protection needed. Year-on-year rates of skin cancer continue to rise globally, despite all our efforts.
This landmark Sun Conference, therefore, will face the coming decade head-on, with a carefully-curated faculty and agenda that does not shirk these challenges but identifies, dissects and analyses both issues and solutions. We look forward to meeting again – in person – in London, November 2023.
- Professor Paul Matts, Conference Organiser -