Over the past 35 years, Melanoma skin cancer rates have actually tripled. Sunscreen helps reduce your risk of acquiring this deadly disease. While we hope we’ve convinced you that according to scholarly research, using sun screen certainly doesn’t increase your chances of getting skin cancer, certain factors can definitely make sun screen more effective in preventing skin damage and especially the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Sunscreen & Vitamin A
While sunscreen itself does not contribute directly to the development of skin cancer, there is an ingredient added to some sunscreens that may potentially speed up the development of skin cancer; that ingredient is Vitamin A (also called retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, or retinol). Added to approximately 12% of sunscreens bearing labels such as “beach” or “sport” and added to 15% of moisturizers that have an SPF, Vitamin A is an antioxidant that can help combat premature aging of the skin. Up to 5% of lip products with SPF also contain this problematic ingredient. However, several clinical studies show that it may also produce lesions or skin tumors when it’s used on skin that’s exposed to sunlight.
Sunscreen & Insufficient Ingredients
While sunscreen is rated according to SPF, or sun protection factor, it can be misleading; sunscreen does not protect your skin against all types of damage. American-made sunscreens, in particular, lack ingredients that would more effectively reduce the damage to the DNA and skin cells which leads to the skin’s premature aging and causes skin cancer; honestly, American-made sunscreens are best at simply preventing sun burn rather than achieving any of those (arguably more significant) aims. By contrast, European sunscreens are subjected to higher standards and typically offer stronger protection, particularly from UVA rays. Here in the U.S., we’re unfortunately still waiting for the FDA to approve the 4 ingredients commonly used in European sunscreens.
Sunscreen, Hormones & Allergies
Like any product that’s applied to large portions of skin several times a day, sunscreen can soak through the skin and be detected in bodily fluids such as urine, blood, and even breast milk. Some ingredients typically used in sunscreens can block or even mimic hormones, while others can cause allergic reactions in those with skin sensitivity issues. While these issues aren’t good reasons to abandon sunscreen use entirely, they do provide extra motivation to use sunscreen as only one weapon against skin damage.
Sunscreen & Vitamin D
After exposure to sunlight, human skin naturally produces Vitamin D, which in turn improves bone health as well as reduces the risks of certain types of cancer. However, you certainly don’t need to get a sunburn or tan in order to achieve that goal! Contrary to conventional “wisdom,” using sunscreen during exposure to the sun does not lead to deficiencies of Vitamin D. You can increase your vitamin D exposure in three ways: eating foods high in Vitamin D, taking vitamin D supplements, and getting sun exposure.
Now that you’re aware of how important sunscreen is in reducing the risk of damage to your skin, you may want to consider adding its use to your family’s pool policies!
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