Does Sunscreen Really Prevent Cancer? 1

I’m going to make a statement that might cause you to gasp.

Sunscreen doesn’t prevent cancer but actually causes it.

Yes, you read that right. It’s a bold assertion, I know.

Slathering on sunscreen before going out in the sun has become as routine as brushing our teeth. We are inundated with messages from the media that sunscreen is the most effective way to prevent skin cancer. So the idea that sunscreen could actually lead to cancer seems to go against everything we’ve ever been taught, but hear me out.

What you need to know is this: Melanoma accounts for more than 75% of all skin cancer deaths–making it the most dangerous. Yet surprisingly, more incidences of melanoma occur in indoor workers than in outdoor workers who are in the sun the entire day. And a study published in the European Journal of Cancer tells us that there is a higher survival rate in skin cancer patients who previously received more sunlight.

“There is no substantial evidence that sunscreen protects against any of the three forms of skin cancer.”  This is recorded by Researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

So what is really going on? And why will sunscreens not help you to prevent skin cancer?

Chemicals in Sunscreen: Your skin is an absorbent organ. Anything you apply to your skin skips the digestive tract filter and enters the cells and bloodstream directly. Eventually, it will make its way to the liver and be broken down, but not until it wreaks havoc on living tissue in your body.

This is why I recommend you never put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat, use the shade when you can and avoid the noon hours.

The Environmental Working Group compiled a review of over 1,700 market brands of sunscreen products and found that 3 out of 5 have minimal protection and contain potentially harmful ingredients. Not to mention the chemicals found in the sunscreens can actually be causing cancerous cells. (See compounds with highest hazard rating by EWG.)

Oxtinoxate is the most widely used ingredient in sunscreens. It sensitizes skin to the sun and disrupts hormonal balances and brain signaling.

Oxybenzone, in 2008, was used as a chemical safeguard against UVA radiation in 52% of the sunscreens the EWG evaluated. That number dropped by 19% after oxybenzone was found to be an endocrine disruptor found in 97% of American urine samples by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Oxybenzone interferes with the hormonal system and releases free radicals that may contribute to the development of skin cancer. 9% of oxybenzone applied to the skin is absorbed into cells and blood vessels.It has also been linked to low female birth weights.

Dermatologist and professor at the University of Melbourne Robin Marks, M.B., M.P.H., reminds us that “relying on synthetic chemicals to prevent cancer is laughable.”

Yet these dangerous chemicals are not the only reason I can’t encourage you strongly enough to discontinue using sunblocks with these chemicals.

UVA & UVB Rays

Sunlight is made of 3 different wavelengths:
Ultraviolet A (UVA)
Ultraviolet B (UVB)
Ultraviolet C (UVC)

Ultraviolet C waves don’t reach the earth. UVA rays are more prevalent in the early morning and late afternoon hours. UVB rays are stronger during the middle of the day.

In years past, the majority of sunscreens only offered protection from UVB rays. The FDA doesn’t require that sunscreen formulas contain UVA filters, so historically most of them haven’t done so. A sunscreen’s sun protection factor (SPF) only takes into account the measure of UVB rays blocked.

What you won’t hear from the media is that melanoma rates are rising as our exposure to sunlight and vitamin D levels are decreasing. When you avoid the sun entirely, you are ignoring one of your biggest defenses against many diseases, including skin cancer–Vitamin D!

It’s actually the UVB rays that will actually give you your best source of Vitamin D. The UVA rays will penetrate your skin and lead to long-term aging. In hindsight the vitamin D-producing UVB rays can be considered the “good guys,” and the skin-damaging UVA rays can be considered the “bad guys.” This theory explains why melanoma rates are higher among indoor workers. Add to this the fact that sunscreens will block out any UVB rays those people might have received, and you’re left with a major Vitamin D deficiency. Dr. John J. Cannell tells us that when you are out in the sunshine, Vitamin D goes directly to your genes and helps prevent any sort of abnormality that could be caused by ultraviolet light.

Does sunscreen really prevent cancer? When we take into consideration the fact that skin cancer rates are highest among people who spend the least amount of time outdoors, it makes you think twice about the “facts” that are often presented to us by the advertising media and manufacturers of expensive skin care and sun care products. The sun is a natural part of our everyday existence, after all…

So next time someone tells you to slather on sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, you now have permission from a doctor to politely decline and opt for shade during the noon hours instead.

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