How Can I Help Prevent Sun Damage And Ultimately Skin Cancer
Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can sometimes repair itself. So, it’s never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun. Your skin does change with age for example, you sweat less and your skin can take longer to heal, but you can delay these changes by limiting sun exposure.
Maintaining healthy skin
- Stop smoking: People who smoke tend to have more wrinkles than nonsmokers of the same age, complexion, and history of sun exposure. The reason for this difference is unclear. It may be because smoking interferes with normal blood flow in the skin.
- Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or greater 30 minutes before sun exposure and then every 2 to 3 hours thereafter. Reapply sooner if you get wet or perspire significantly.
- Select cosmetic products and contact lenses that offer UV protection.
- Wear sunglasses with total UV protection.
- Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Perform skin self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths.
- Relieve dry skin using a humidifier at home, bathing with soap less often , and using a moisturizing lotion.
- Become a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child. Eighty percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18.
Understanding UV index
8-10: Very high
11 or higher : Extreme
Tanning Facts And Risks
Skin damage starts with your very first tan. Each time you tan, the damage builds up, creating more genetic mutations and greater risk.
Indoor tanning is dangerous: Tanning beds dont offer a safe alternative to sunlight they raise the risk for skin cancers. One study observing 63 women diagnosed with melanoma before age 30 found that 61 of them thats 97 percent used tanning beds.
Tanning damages all types of skin: Even if your skin type is not fair, tanning causes DNA injury that can lead to premature aging and skin cancer.
You can easily reduce your likelihood of developing skin cancer by practicing sun safety.
Sun Exposure Does Not Cause Melanoma
Melanoma is a very aggressive type of cancer that can begin as a skin development but can quickly metastasize to other parts and organs of the body. Less than 2% of all instances of skin cancer are of type melanoma.
Nevertheless, melanomas insidious nature makes it responsible for most of the deaths resulting from skin cancer. However, as weve said earlier, documented studies have ruled out sunlight as a cause of melanoma.
Our breakthrough begins with Dr. Daniel Colt from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. As a skilled surgical oncologist, he shared his analysis of melanoma at the Health Education Seminar 2012 organized by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
In his findings, he presented an extraordinary evidence that cleared a lot of legends about melanoma.
During his presentation, he shocked the congregation when he postulated that sun exposure is not the cause of most melanomas. Henceforth, avoiding the sun and using sunblock will not prevent melanoma.
Dr. Colt further explained that genetics are the primary cause of melanoma. It is linked to family history and is caused by gene mutation.
In 2002, a detailed melanoma review from the UK had also brought some compelling data. The analysis was conducted in five studies that analyzed links between melanoma and sunscreen.
The conclusion of the report is that there is no compelling link between using sunscreen for protective use and prevention of melanoma.
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Sunscreen Circulates In Blood For Weeks
An alarming new study published in January of 2020 suggests we should all choose sunscreen with greater caution.
According to the new findings, Chemical sunscreen ingredients are systemically absorbed after one application, and some ingredients can stay in the blood for at least 3 weeks.All of the six active ingredients tested readily absorbed into the bloodstream of human participants.
The scary part? Levels of these chemicals detected in the bloodstream surpassed an important FDA safety threshold.
The sunscreen chemicals tested include avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone.
The study builds on previous research, which found similar conclusions, urging further studies to determine the clinical significance of their findings.
Are There Different Types Of Radiation In Sunlight
Yes. The types of radiation include:
- visible light, which gives us the colours we see
- infrared radiation which gives us the warmth we feel
- ultraviolet radiation
Except in extreme situations, neither visible light nor infrared radiation from sunlight causes health problems. However, ultraviolet radiation can cause harmful effects to the skin.
There are three basic types of ultraviolet radiation:
Table 1 summarizes the general features of each type.
|Table 1 Types of Ultraviolet Radiation and Their Features|
|Ultraviolet Radiation Type|
|Ultraviolet A radiation UVA, long-wave UV)||-not filtered out in the atmosphere -passes through glass -once considered harmless but now believed harmful over the long term -levels remain relatively constant throughout the day|
|Ultraviolet B radiation||-some filtered out in the atmosphere by the ozone layer -does not pass through glass -causes sunburn, tanning, wrinkling, aging of the skin and skin cancer -highest intensity at noontime|
|-filtered out in the atmosphere by the ozone layer before reaching earth -major artificial sources are germicidal lamps -burns the skin and causes skin cancer|
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The Truth About Sunscreen
Usage of sunscreen increased considerably in the past 50 years. At least 61% of the adult population in the United States uses sunscreen for protection against the sun, says the U.S. Center for Disease Control, and this number will continue to grow over the years.
For comparison, in the 1970s, the sales for sunscreen were about $18 million. The sales for sunscreen today are $400 million.
And yet, the studies that we mentioned above have clearly demonstrated that sunscreen is not only very inefficient at preventing cancer, but melanoma itself occurs less in people with greater sun exposure.
In addition to this, using sunscreens that block the production of vitamin D was also correlated with increased risks of melanoma.
As a final note, if this was not the case and sunscreen was useful for protecting against harmful UV rays, then why havent weve seen a decline in cancer statistics?
Actually, over the past years weve seen that in spite of the broad use of sunscreen by the population, skin cancer occurs much more often than before.
What this means is that millions of people are at an ever so greater risk of skin cancer every year! And the sunscreen companies turn a blind eye to adverse effects of sunscreen and even actively endorse it.
Dont forget: they made hundreds of millions of dollars every year from sunscreen sales!
How Does Sunlight Affect The Skin
When ultraviolet radiation reaches the skin, some radiation is reflected away from the surface. The remaining radiation is scattered into the tissues just beneath the skin’s surface. A fraction of this radiation is absorbed by the skin’s living cells.
Ultraviolet radiation absorbed by living cells damages sensitive substances that influence the skin’s normal growth and appearance. Damage can result in:
- increased rate of aging of the skin
- skin cancer
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Increased Rate Of Aging Of The Skin
Repeated exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation eventually causes skin damage similar to the aging process. Patches of skin become thin and less elastic, and develop blemishes, sun freckles, and wrinkles. These changes may take many years of exposure but when they occur, the damage is irreversible.
Is Sun Exposure The Only Cause Of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is one of the most common and treatable forms of cancer when caught in the early stages. Any person can develop skin cancer, but the cause depends on the type of cancer diagnosed as well as the persons skin type. People with lighter colored hair, eyes, and skin have a greater risk of developing skin cancer because their body contains less melanin that protects them from sun damage. Continuous exposure to the sun without the protection of sunscreen, hats, lightweight long-sleeved clothing, and other barriers increase the risk of developing skin cancer as well.
Although long-term, unprotected sun exposure is a leading cause of skin cancer, its not the only cause. It depends largely on whether a doctor diagnoses a non-melanoma or melanoma type of skin cancer.
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Does Sunscreen Cause Cancer The Trouble With Ingredients In Sunscreen
Apr 30, 2019Carly FraserSave For Later
Using sunscreen to protect our skin has been a concept thrown at us for decades. But have you ever asked the question does sunscreen cause cancer? Why is it that with the rise of sunscreen use, melanoma cases sky-rocketed? Is it because our ozone layer is getting weaker, or because the chemicals in sunscreen are reacting with the sun and putting us at danger of DNA mutation?
While many of us have these questions, some people dont even think twice. They lather on the 100+ SPF morning and afternoon without even taking a look at the ingredient list. With that being said, I cant blame people for not thinking to do so. Were not really taught as a society to think or question the chemical ingredient lists in our personal care products, let alone on the lists of the food we eat.
Does Harmful Sun Rays Cause Skin Cancer
Whenlee Dyeiton worked as a model in the 1980s and 1990s, she witnessed the deadly effects of UV rays on her friends and co-workers. But, at the time, she didnt think of potential cancer risks. I probably knew people who had skin cancer, had worked too much with the sun, and been too much in the sun a b CO2 laser machine is a tremendous benefit, and you dont even have to worry about burning like crazy, she says.
But, over the last 25 years, thats changed. According to a Cancer Research perspective by the Nationalconfidence Journal, the incidence of melanoma has responded significantly over the last two decades. Of 1, discourage fact is that one out of 5 Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime! If you ever get skin infection, blister, or lose a limb because of negligence while tanning, youll want to let someone know.
Tanning absorbs most of the UV light so the majority of individuals are not at any particular risk. According to Dr. JaneBrowser, chief of Dermatology at trauma treatment center inoller, Florida, one recent study showed that individuals who worked within an indoor tanning salon were 60% more likely to develop melanoma than those who didnt.
There are three types of ultraviolet rays, but most skin care specialists recommend avoiding three of them: UVA, UVB, and UVC. When these are combined together, they work in synergy to produce the most harmful free-radical damage. Now you can see why tanning beds are dangerous?
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So Do We Throw All Caution To The Wind And Allow Ourselves And Our Children To Get Sunburned Of Course Not
The sun is capable of causing oxidative stress that a healthy body can generally repair easily particularly if the person acclimates to the sun slowly and eats a nutrient-dense diet to stay strong. I still advise people to cover up with direct skin exposure if they havent first acclimated to the sun, and even then, it may be prudent to be covered for some amount of time. For children, start with and exposure of 2-10 minutes of direct, noon sun and increase this slowly over several weeks.
Sandrines note: Sally Fallon Morell writes, Sunscreen? Please think twice in her article Skin Deep:
Pick up an article on keeping healthy and it will almost always recommend a generous application of sunscreen to protect the skin. This trend has become so widely accepted that some people wear sunscreen every day, even in winter, and slather their children with it before they get dressed, just in case they may come in contact with that dreaded, unnatural substance: sunlight.
The list of questionable ingredients in sunscreens include benzophenones , PABA and PABA esters , cinnamates , salicylates , digalloyl trioleate, menthyl anthranilate and avobenzone.
- International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.
- Armstrong, B.K. and A. Kricker, How much melanoma is caused by sun exposure? Melanoma Research, 1993: 3:395-401.
What Is Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US, and the number of cases continues to rise. It is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. While healthy cells grow and divide in an orderly way, cancer cells grow and divide in a rapid, haphazard manner. This rapid growth results in tumors that are either benign or malignant .
There are three main types of skin cancer:
Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are less serious types and make up 95% of all skin cancers. Also referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers, they are highly curable when treated early.
Melanoma, made up of abnormal skin pigment cells called melanocytes, is the most serious form of skin cancer and causes 75% of all skin cancer deaths. Left untreated, it can spread to other organs and is difficult to control.
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Staying In The Sun Safely
In order to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D, it is recommended to stay in the sun 15-30 minutes per day without sunscreen. Start for a few minutes and work up to 30. If your staying out in the sun for longer wearing a hat and light clothes would be a good idea to protect the skin from burning. If you are planning to be in the hot sun for longer than 30 minutes, it is a good to have some form a sun protection. If using a sunscreen make sure to use a non-toxic one. I recommend reading the ingredients to see the bottle lists any ones mentioned above.
The EWGs first choice for sun protection is Zinc Oxide. It provides full spectrum protection of UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens like Earthie Mamas Sunscreen , are the best choice in sunscreens. There are other reasons why you might want to switch over to a mineral based sunscreen, You can read more about that HERE.
Eating a healthy diet is also important to protect your skin from the sun. A diet high in antioxidant rich foods protects the skin from a sunburn as they act as a protective layer screening the sun from burning the skin. Antioxidants include berries, dark leafy greens, artichokes, green tea, dark chocolate and more.
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Other View: Does Overexposure To The Sun Cause Melanomas
In their book, Embrace the Sun, Drs. William Grant and Marc Sorenson, experts on vitamin D, report that North Americans have been taught to believe excessive amounts of sun cause potentially fatal skin malignancies. The result? North Americans have developed sun phobia, and spent billions of dollars on sunscreen protection. But does the sun trigger melanomas?
Dr. Michael F. Holick, Professor of Molecular Medicine at Boston University, agrees that excessive sun exposure causes non-melanoma skin cancer, which, diagnosed early is easy to treat. But he says there is compelling evidence that regular sun exposure helps to prevent the highly malignant melanoma, rather than causing it.
Theres also general agreement to be cautious about melanoma if you have red hair, fair skin, a large number of moles, and are prone to sun burning. Severe burns during childhood or a genetic predisposition to this malignancy are also valid reasons.
But the authors point to voluminous research over the last century that shows the positive health benefits of sensible sun exposure. For instance, in the early 1900s it was observed that indoor workers were at much increased risk of dying from cancer compared to outdoor ones. Later, a Canadian study revealed that women with high sun exposure as teenagers reduced their risk of breast cancer by almost 70 percent compared to those with minimum sun exposure.
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High Rates In The Antipodes
So it is perhaps unsurprising that skin cancer rates are highest in Australia and New Zealand countries that are close to the hole in the ozone layer above the Antarctic, where UV radiation is not filtered in the same way as other regions. That said, the higher rates observed here are also thought to be due to their latitude, improved screening for skin cancer, and migration of non-native people with fairer skin to this area.
Despite the high incidence of skin cancer recorded across the world, these are still likely to be underestimates, particularly for non-melanoma skin cancer . Non-melanoma skin cancer represents a particular challenge for estimating incidence and survival: it is often not tracked by cancer registries, or registrations of this cancer are often incomplete because most cases are successfully treated via surgery or ablation.
High Sun Protection Factor
The intervention that has attracted most media attention is the recommendation to use sunscreen with a high SPF. However, studies that are not randomised and double-blind have a risk of selection bias. There has been only one randomised clinical interventional trial on whether sunscreen can protect against skin cancer . This was an open study in which half the participants were given free SPF 16 sunscreen along with instructions to apply it to the head, neck, arms and hands every day, while the other half received no specific intervention and presumably continued as before. Half of the participants were also independently randomised to take beta-carotene or placebo. The study tested the effect on keratinocyte carcinomas only, and the results showed that neither sunscreen nor beta-carotene had any effect on these cancers . However, a follow-up study was subsequently conducted that also included malignant melanoma, and this study found an almost significant reduction of malignant melanoma in the sunscreen group . A new endpoint was thus added after the study had been completed, which is not good practice. No change in melanoma-related mortality was detected, but the follow-up time was too short to see any long-term effects.
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