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What is it about Skin Cancer and Sunscreen?
There is much controversy on cancer and sunscreen. It is true that the sunscreen manufacturers have spent millions of dollars to promote the mindset that sunscreen prevents cancer and is pretty much a essential when you are going to be in the sun, any sun, or you are going to die, die, die, a horrible death.
While I may have express that melodramatically, they are pushing the fear button.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer gives an interesting recommendation that clothing, hats and shade as primary barriers to UV radiation should be used when in sunlight and further says that “sunscreens should not be the first choice for skin cancer prevention and should not be used as the sole agent for protection against the sun”. Fear the sun? You need to be protected against it. Fear. Fear. Fear.
Sunlight is not our enemy. We can abuse our friend, but of itself sunlight, full spectrum light, is good and healthful for us. The evidence is clear.
Sunscreen is by its producers own statements intended to insure that you do not have full spectrum sunlight. Who are we to say that the eliminated light wavelengths that are screened out are to beneficial in moderation? The evidence of our ignorance is clear on this subject.
I remind you here of the juvenile jaundice treatment with sunlight. The researchers have told us that direct sunlight is 6.5 times more effective in treating this problem than artificial lights of the supposed needed lightwaves lengths alone. It would seem to be obvious that some things in the other wavelengths are beneficial in heliotherapy. That is, there are some things useful in the natural light that we are ignorant of.
When we start eliminating from full spectrum light certain waves, we are stepping out in ignorance. We do not know everything. We are losing the balanced light of heliotherapy.
While sunscreen may be effective in preventing sunburn, beyond that little is known about its overall safety. For some reason the FDA stopped its study into its safety and effectiveness in 1978. Therefore there are no official safety standards.
Some interesting facts.
There is no agreement that sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer. There has been a lot of one sided advertising by the companies. However, that notwithstanding there is no agreement on this.
If fact there is some evidence that sunscreen may cause the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma.
Some researchers speculate that free radicals released by sunscreen chemicals breaking down the sunlight may be a cause of the promotion of melanoma.
*There are more high SPF products than ever before, but no proof that they’re better.
*Some scientists are now saying that too little sun could harm you, reducing the body’s vitamin D levels.
*The common ingredient in sunscreens is vitamin A, which may speed the development of cancer.
There is an FDA study suggesting that a form of vitamin A, which is retinyl palmitate, may when used topically in sunlight, may speed the growth of skin tumors and lesions. The sunscreen manufactures put vitamin A in 41 percent of sunscreens.
*Sunscreens have free radicals and other skin-damaging byproducts in them.
When sunscreen is applied too little or reapply infrequently scientists say that the sunscreens are expected to cause more free radical damage than UV rays on bare skin.