May marked skin cancer awareness month, which typically includes free community screenings and other efforts to catch this cancer in its most treatable and beatable stages. It's also a time to highlight many of the wins in this ongoing battle, and the adoption of Sunucate laws in 20 states (and counting) is certainly a cause for celebration.

Sunucate refers to model legislation developed by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) that allows students and campers to possess and use a topical sunscreen on school or camp property without a physician's note or prescription. Thanks to these laws, millions of students and campers are now protected from the sun's damaging ultraviolet rays during the most vulnerable years, and sunscreen use is also more likely to become a habit that will last a lifetime. Efforts like these are helping to turn the tables on skin cancer incidence and I hope to see even more states adopt Sunucate laws in the coming months and years.



Up to 6,000 tons of sunscreen wash into coral reefs around the globe each year, according to the National Parks Service. Oxybenzone, octinoxate, and other chemicals in sunscreen are being said to zap corals' defenses against bleaching, harming their development. One-quarter of all ocean species depend on reefs for food and shelter.

So far, Hawaii, Florida's Key West, and the island of Palau have all banned the sale of sunscreen containing chemicals believed to harm coral reefs. And savvy sunscreen brands are getting ahead of the trend by launching reef-safe, mineral-based, and non-nano sunscreens. Be prepared to field questions from eco-conscious patients on which sunscreen can best protect their skin from skin cancer without being blamed for sacrificing marine life.