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Does Sunscreen Cause Skin Cancer

Can Sunscreen Cause Skin Cancer

Friend or Foe: Does sunscreen cause skin cancer? (Medical myth)

Some people question the value of using sunscreen and even question if it can cause skin cancer. The obvious benefits of the sun include the vitamin D needed for good health. But the conclusion drawn is wrong.

The fact is, skin cancers have been around for many centuries. While the increase in the risk of developing invasive melanoma has increased , this can be attributed to a number of factors, including longer lifespans. Sun damage leading to skin cancers generally accumulates over time. Also the thinning ozone layer, which allows greater amounts of harmful ultraviolet radiation to penetrate the earths atmosphere the increased popularity of outdoor activities clothing that leaves more skin exposed and the popularity of tanning booths.

Fortunately, improved diagnostic techniques and technology also allow doctors to detect more skin cancers at an earlier stage.

Tan skin was not considered a desirable attribute until the 1920s. Fair, untanned skin signified that a person didnt have to work outdoors and enjoyed higher social standing. People in tune with the fashion of that era wore protective clothing, including hats, to avoid getting too much sun.

Then fashion and beauty magazines began promoting tans as signs of beauty, health, and affluence in 1929. The increased UV exposure, not the advent of commercial sunscreens, is the most compelling explanation for the rise in skin cancers.

An Epiphany Based On A False Observation And A Single Study

She starts by describing the epiphany that led to her investigations. She had read that coral reefs were dying due to global warming but when she went swimming in Hawaii, she thought the water felt colder than ever before in her 40 years experience of swimming there. She didnt question the validity of her subjective impression if she had, she might have learned that sea temperatures in Hawaii are actually rising. Anyway, she assumed global warming couldnt be the cause of coral die-off, and she quickly found another explanation: an article unequivocally demonstrating that coral die from exposure to sunscreen chemicals. She says she immediately knew she had to write a book warning the world that sunscreens were threatening not only coral reefs but the whole marine habitat. Seems like a bit of a leap to me! As she combed the scientific literature in search of confirmation, she found that birds, mammals, and humans were also under threat.

Benzene In Sunscreen Products

Benzene is the chemical responsible for causing skin cancer. Recently 5000 sunscreen bottles were sold that have horrible chemical benzene in them.

Whether its summer or winter, sunny days or rainy days, or any time you spend outside the door can cause damage to your sensitive skin.

Sunscreen products are commonly believed to reduce the risk of skin cancer. But are they reducing skin cancer?

No, some sunscreen products have a contrary function. Studies confirmed that sunscreens contain the chemical benzene, and benzene is a notorious, horrible chemical compound responsible for skin cancer.

Check to make sure that your sunscreen bottle does not have benzene.

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Amount Of Exposure To Sunlight

The damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation accumulate over the years. In general, the risk of developing skin cancer increases with the amount of time spent under the sun and the intensity of radiation. The intensity of radiation varies according to the season of the year, time of day, geographic location , elevation above sea level, reflection from surfaces , stratospheric ozone, clouds, and air pollution.

Recent studies have focused on the effects of intermittent sun exposure in comparison to chronic exposure. It appears that the type of exposure may influence the type of cancer that develops. For example, intermittent solar exposure may be an important factor leading to the onset of basal cell carcinoma of the skin. Childhood sun exposure may also play an important part in the development of these cancers later in adult life. The pattern for cutaneous melanoma is similar to that for basal cell carcinoma.

In contrast, the relationship between squamous cell carcinoma and solar UVR appears to be quite different. For squamous cell tumours, high levels of chronic occupational sunlight exposure, especially in the 10 years prior to diagnosis, results in an elevated risk for this cancer in the highest exposure group.

Sunscreen Should Prevent Cancer Not Cause It

How Does a Sunburn Cause Skin Cancer?

Life is full of ironies, like the recent news that some sunscreen products contain a cancer-causing chemical. We buy sunscreen to protect ourselves not only from painful sunburn but also from skin cancer, which is the most common form of cancer worldwide. Now comes news that some of the products weve been slathering on to

Life is full of ironies, like the recent news that some sunscreen products contain a cancer-causing chemical. We buy sunscreen to protect ourselves not only from painful sunburn but also from skin cancer, which is the most common form of cancer worldwide. Now comes news that some of the products weve been slathering on to prevent one form of cancer may actually cause another.

The culprit? A chemical called benzene.

Benzene is a natural component of crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke. It ranks among the top chemicals used in making lubricants, rubber, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides, as well as plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is also a known carcinogen.

The seriousness of poisoning caused by benzene depends on the amount, route, and length of time of exposure, as well as the age and preexisting medical condition of the exposed person, the CDC reports.

CVS stopped selling its branded After Sun Aloe Vera and After Sun Aloe Vera Spray the day after the Johnson & Johnson recall was announced.

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The Efficacy And Safety Of Sunscreen Use For The Prevention Of Skin Cancer


  • Several well-conducted randomized controlled trials with long follow-up showed that sunscreen use reduces the risk of squamous cell and melanoma skin cancers.

  • Commercial sunscreens protect against the skin-damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation through either chemical or physical ingredients.

  • The Canadian Dermatology Association recommends the use of an adequate dose of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 for most children and adults, as part of a comprehensive photoprotection strategy.

  • Emerging evidence suggests that some chemical sunscreen ingredients are systemically absorbed, but the clinical importance of this remains unclear further research is required to establish whether this results in harm.

  • Ultraviolet filters found within chemical sunscreens may be harmful to the environment.

How Do Sunscreens Work

Sunscreens contain chemical or physical compounds that act to block ultraviolet radiation, which is light with wavelengths shorter than visible light , as shown in . Generally, the shorter the wavelength, the greater the potential for light radiation to cause biological damage. Sunscreen filters are active against UVA1, UVA2 and UVB radiation. Chemical filters, such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule, are aromatic compounds that absorb high-intensity ultraviolet radiation, resulting in excitation to higher energy states. When these molecules return to their ground states, the result is conversion of the absorbed energy into lower-energy wavelengths, such as infrared radiation .

Schematic representation of the electromagnetic spectrum of light, emphasizing ultraviolet radiation frequencies and their effect on human skin. Generally, the shorter the wavelength of radiation, the greater the potential for biological damage. Note: UVA = ultraviolet A, UVB = ultraviolet B, UVC = ultraviolet C. Sunscreen filters are active against UVA1, UVA2 and UVB radiation.

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How To Protect Your Skin

The American Cancer Society recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30. It is very important to read the label on sunscreen to know that is it both broad-spectrum and water-resistant. Reading the label will also tell you how often to re-apply the sunscreen based on how water-resistant it is. Some need to be re-applied as often as every 40 minutes, and after swimming or sweating.

In addition:

  • Cover up: When you are out in the sun, wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.
  • Seek shade: Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps: Both can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.

Is Your Sunscreen Toxic


Lets start first with how toxins enter our body from what we eat or drink, from what we inhale, and anything that goes onto our skin. Up until a few years ago, sunscreen was only applied topically, but now we also have aerosols thanks to those super cool sunscreen canisters that can be sprayed upside down. Hang tight on that one Ill come back to it in a minute.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and refers to how much time you can safely be in the sun than without it. SPF measures for protection from sunburn, not other types of skin damage. But sunscreen is only as good as the person who uses it. Many of us dont apply enough, dont reapply, and miss spots. Ultraviolet rays from the sun generate free radicals that damage your DNA and skin cells, which accelerate skin aging and contribute to the cause of cancer. So in addition to the proper use of sunscreen, you also need to ensure it contains proper UVA protection.

Ive looked to the experts at Mind Body Green and Amy Myers MD to identify the primary chemicals in sunscreen, and will break down their findings for you:

Wait so if sunscreens are this toxic, why are they legally sold and how come we arent all running around with cancer? Remember what I said earlier about melanoma rates tripling over the last 30 years? Where do you think the money from this multi-billion dollar sunscreen industry is going? Certainly not into the pockets of our lawmakers in DC. No that would never happen.

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What To Wear To Protect Your Skin From The Sun Did You Know That What You Wear Can Make A Big Difference When It Comes To Protecting Yourself From The Sun

Sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory they protect your eyes from damage by blocking UV rays. This is important for kids too! Look for the kind that have both UVA and UVB protection. The label might say UV 400 or 100% UV protection.

Look for clothing thats specially made to protect you from UV rays. The label shows the UV protection factor . UPF measures a fabrics ability to block UV rays from passing through and reaching the skin. The fabrics are classified into categories based on their UPF.

Like a sunscreens SPF, the higher the UPF, the less UV radiation reaches the skin and the better the protection. The fabrics used for this clothing are often lightweight, and some may be treated with ingredients to help them block UV rays. Look for UPF 15 or higher. UPF 50+ blocks most UV rays.

Who Should Use Sunscreen

The short answer is everyone! Men, women and children over 6 months of age should use sunscreen every day. This includes people who tan easily and those who dont remember, your skin is damaged by sun exposure over your lifetime, whether or not you burn.

Babies under the age of 6 months are the only exceptions their skin is highly sensitive. Stay out of the sun shade structures and sun-protective clothing are the best ways to safeguard infants.

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Warning: Study Finds Nearly 80 Popular Sunscreens Have Cancer

An independent testing lab is asking the Food and Drug Administration to recall nearly 80 sunscreen products with a cancer-causing chemical.

The lab, called Valisure, checks medications and other products for quality.

The company tested 300 sunscreen products and found that 27% of them contain Benzene, according to Valisure. High levels of benzene can cause cancer, particularly blood cancer, including leukemia.

Fourteen of the products contained benzene at levels higher than 2 parts per million . Thats the FDAs recommended limit for benzene in medically valuable drugs that cant be made without it.

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To this point, Vailsure discovered that 78 items contain benzene. In turn, Valisure is urging the FDA to recall all of the impacted products.

Valisure LLC has tested and detected high levels of benzene, a known human carcinogen, in several brands and batches of sunscreen, which are considered drug products by the Food and Drug Administration , as well as in after-sun care products, which are generally regulated by FDA as cosmetics, the company said in a press release.

As to the testing and incidence of benzene, Valisure found that 27% of the samples they tested contained levels of benzene that were three times higher than the permissible amount.

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Male Partners With Higher Concentrations Of Organic Uv Filter Benzophenone Had A 30% Lower Chance Of Conceiving

Why does direct sunlight damage our eyes?

Even so, some research has found that organic UV filters may affect humans too. In one study from 2015, researchers studied 500 couples who were trying to conceive and found that male partners with higher concentrations of benzophenone-type UV filters had a 30% lower chance of conceiving each menstrual cycle.

The longer time to pregnancy may be influenced by subtle changes in semen quality, says the studys author Germaine Louis, professor of global and community health at George Mason University in Virginia, US.

While this is an important finding, the study does have limitations, Leffell notes, which Louis acknowledges in the paper. These limitations include reliance on only one urine measurement, and the possible variability of the concentration of UV filters measured, as their concentration lowers quickly when in the body.

While its reasonable to be concerned about the clinical impact of certain benzophenones, regardless of their source, Leffell adds that the study doesnt draw any definite conclusions.

Vitamin D

Aside from any one precise ingredient, there are concerns that sunscreen prevents the human body from making vitamin D, which we mostly get from Sun exposure. After all, vitamin D deficiency might be more prevalent than we think could sunscreen use be to blame?

Were very good at making vitamin D. And sunscreen isnt like being inside a room it screens the Sun out and still lets some through.

But could Sun exposure provide benefits other than vitamin D?

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How Can I Stay Safe In The Sun

All of these contradictory studies are making my head spin! How do I know which study to believe, and how to stay safe in the sun? My recommendation is common sense and moderation. Enjoy the sun during the morning or late afternoon. When you are out in the middle of the day, wear protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses, and find shade. When it comes to sunscreen, be an educated consumer, know your level of risk, and read labels. By all means, dont get burned, and NEVER use tanning beds!

I am pasty white, covered in freckles and moles, and am a breast cancer survivor basically plagued with risk factors. So for me personally, I use a daily all-natural moisturizer with sunblock, and I enjoy the sun in small quantities as much as I can, without sunscreen.

When I am out for prolonged periods of time, I use Beautycounter CounterSun sunscreen and protect myself from burning as much as possible by wearing a hat or sitting in the shade. Sunshine makes me happy.

Is Sunscreen The New Margarine

Current guidelines for sun exposure are unhealthy and unscientific, controversial new research suggestsand quite possibly even racist. How did we get it so wrong?

For exclusive access to all of our fitness, gear, adventure, and travel stories, plus discounts on trips, events, and gear,.

These are dark days for supplements. Although they are a $30-plus billion market in the United States alone, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, beta-carotene, glucosamine, chondroitin, and fish oil have now flopped in study after study.

If there was one supplement that seemed sure to survive the rigorous tests, it was vitamin D. People with low levels of vitamin D in their blood have significantly higher rates of virtually every disease and disorder you can think of: cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, heart attack, stroke, depression, cognitive impairment, autoimmune conditions, and more. The vitamin is required for calcium absorption and is thus essential for bone health, but as evidence mounted that lower levels of vitamin D were associated with so many diseases, health experts began suspecting that it was involved in many other biological processes as well.

How did we get it so wrong? How could people with low vitamin D levels clearly suffer higher rates of so many diseases and yet not be helped by supplementation?

As it turns out, a rogue band of researchers has had an explanation all along. And if theyre right, it means that once again we have been epically misled.

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Is It Scientifically Possible To Apply Sunscreen To Your Own Back

It turns out there are myriad applicators you can buy that will help you do just this, and they cost about $10 to $30. But if you dont want to splurge, the Huffington Post lists some awesome techniques using various combinations of spatulas, washcloths, plastic wrap, and yoga.

Just remember, there are better and worse ways to apply sunscreen to your body. The American Academy of Dermatology has some good advice on this. It advises that 15 minutes before going outdoors, generously coat all skin thats not covered by clothing including face, ears, arms, and lips with about one ounce of sunscreen, or about enough to fill a shot glass . Reapply about every two hours and after swimming or sweating, according to the instructions on the bottle.


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