Won’t Prevent Skin Cancer – Might Actually Cause It…
Are You for Real….?!? Wow! Now there is a Big Headline!
What in the World?
- Certain sunscreens may speed the development of skin cancer especially if they are vitamin-A-laced creams
- Sunscreens containing Oxybenzone have shown to cause hormone disruptions
- But the most dangerous rays, in terms of causing skin damage and cancer are UVA rays, but a lot of creams filter UVB rays and NOT UVA rays
- You can strengthen your skin from within by feeding it certain anti-oxidants
- Chose your sunscreen very carefully and use other tricks to minimize the usage of cream based sunscreen.
We have been told over and over to slather on that sunscreen to yes, prevent skin from aging (aka wrinkles) but also of course to prevent skin cancer. Seriously who likes to think about such a nasty disease. Honestly, I don’t know about you but I do what I was told (grumble! grumble!) and then just forgot about it, left it alone, had done my due, right?
Welllll…. Appaaaaarently…. There is a bit more to it….
Doing some research, I came across a bunch of articles challenging the notion of sun screen = no skin cancer (or at least reduced risk). This headline however really caught my attention.
These thoughts supplement some of the ideas I had mentioned in A Word About Sunscreen, but really goes beyond it a bit more.
Certain Sunscreens May Speed the Development of Skin Cancer (1)
Close to 16 percent of U.S. sunscreens contain vitamin A, which sounds like a natural addition that might be beneficial for your skin, acting as an antioxidant.
However, retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, has been found to promote the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied topically and exposed to sunlight. (2)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) National Center for Toxicological Research (NTP) has been studying the ability of vitamin A ingredients to trigger skin cancer when exposed to the sun for more than a decade.
One study on hairless mice revealed that the development of skin tumors was accelerated when a vitamin-A-laced cream was applied to the mice and then exposed to ultraviolet light daily for one year.
Most Sunscreens Filter to Wrong Rays (1)
In regard to SPF, another important factor to remember is that an SPF rating refers only to protection against UVB rays, which are the rays within the ultraviolet spectrum that allows your body to produce vitamin D in your skin.
But the most dangerous rays, in terms of causing skin damage and cancer are UVA rays.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG)(3)
“A sunscreen lotion’s SPF rating has little to do with the product’s ability to shield the skin from UVA rays. As a result of the FDA’s restrictions on ingredients and concentrations, U.S. sunscreens offer far less protection against UVA than UVB, particularly those products with the highest SPF.”
To make matters worse, the amount of sunscreen applied, sunlight intensity, sweat, swimming and more can all affect how much sun protection you receive. And to make matters REALLY worse there’s also evidence that people tend to stay in the sun longer when wearing high-SPF sunscreens, putting them at risk of overexposure (as in “I am wearing sunscreen so I am good”).
All in all, according to Monica Amarelo writing for the EWG: “73 Percent of Products Rate Poorly for Skin Protection or Worrisome Ingredients”
Oxybenzone – Another Reason Why Many Sunscreens Are Dangerous (2; 3)
This popular sunscreen ingredient that has been detected in nearly every American, is believed to cause hormone disruptions and cell damage that may provoke cancer. There’s really no reason to risk exposure to this chemical, as safer alternatives exist. In lieu of the skin-penetrating hormone-disrupting chemicals like oxybenzone, safer sunscreens tend to use non-nanoparticle sized zinc- and titanium-based mineral ingredients, which block the sun’s rays without penetrating your skin.
- Protect your face and eyes by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or a cap. The skin around these areas is much thinner than other areas of your body and is more at risk for cosmetic photo damage and premature wrinkling. If it’s too hot to protect your skin by covering with light clothing, and you’ll be outside for extended periods, be sure to use a natural mineral-based broad-spectrum sunscreen on your skin — these products often contain zinc.
- Limit your initial sun exposure and slowly work your way up. If you are a fairly light-skinned individual who tends to burn easily, limit your initial exposure to just a few minutes, especially if it is in the middle of summer. The more tanned your skin gets, the longer you can stay in the sun without burning. If it is early or late in the season and/or you are a dark-skinned individual, you could likely safely have 30 minutes on your initial exposure.
- Build an internal sunscreen with beneficial antioxidants. Astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, can be used both internally and topically to protect your skin from the sun. You can find it in some food such as wild salmon (NOT the farm raised one).
Other helpful antioxidants include proanthocyanidins, resveratrol and lycopene. Eating healthy is also important. Fresh, raw, unprocessed foods deliver the nutrients your body needs to maintain a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 oils in your skin, which is your first line of defense against sunburn. Check this article out if you want more info: Sunburned – Now What?
Fresh, raw vegetables also provide your body with an abundance of powerful antioxidants that will help you fight the free radicals caused by sun damage that can lead to burns and cancer.
- Moisturize your skin naturally. Before sunbathing, apply organic coconut oil on the exposed areas of your skin. This will not only moisturize your skin to prevent dryness but will also give you additional metabolic benefits.
Remember that some sun is healthy and essential for your body.
So, make sure you enjoy it smartly!!!
1. Mercola, J.M., 2016. Sunscreen Won’t Prevent SkinCancer but Some Could Actually Cause It [Online]. Available: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/08/23/sunscreen-use.aspx[Accessed September 25, 2017].
2. 2017. EWG’s Sunscreen Guide: The Problem With Vitamin A [Online].Environmental Working Group. Available: http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-problem-with-vitamin-a/#.Wck56MiGPct[Accessed September 25, 2017].
3. Amarelo, M., 2017. EWG’s 2017 Guide to Sunscreens: What’s WrongWith High SPF? [Online]. Available: http://www.ewg.org/release/ewg-2017-guide-safer-more-effective-sunscreens#.Wck348iGPcs[Accessed September 25, 2017].
4. Mercola, J.M., How to Treat Sunburn Naturally [Online]. Available: https://articles.mercola.com/sunburn.aspx[Accessed September 25, 2017].