“With the introduction of sunscreen, our relationship with the sun has changed forever.”
In the last several posts we have discussed the issues with sunscreen. To be clear, sunscreen will somewhat protect you from skin cancer that is not life threatening like basal cell carcinoma, but there is no evidence that it stops melanoma. Betting you life on a chemical rubbed on the skin is risky business. If you have to spend a lot of time in the sun, then your best protection is to allow your skin to become tan and wear clothing and hats to protect yourself. If you must use a cream to protect your skin, then use the type that has titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to reflect the UV away.
The use of sunscreens does not stop melanoma. This is the reason that the melanoma rate is so high in Australia. The ozone layer thickens over that area of the earth and acts just like the older sunscreens in allowing all the UVA through and blocking the UVB. In other words, the amount of vitamin D production is reduced and the opportunity for skin cancer has increased. This is our current relationship with the sun because of sunscreen use.
Annesofie Faurschou, M.D., Ph.D., of Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues conducted a study on vitamin D production when using sunscreen. They used the recommended amount suggested by the World Health Organization to prevent burning of 2 mg/cm3. (if I did the math right that would be about 1250 mg/in2 – sorry about the mixed units – about a tenth of an ounce for every three square inches) At the recommended amount there was no significant increase in serum vitamin D. The article was published in April online in the British Journal of Dermatology. Here is a summary from the DoctorsLounge.com
Using sunscreen is like a double whammy for your health. It will not stop melanoma unless it is the type with mineral filler. It prevents you from making vitamin D that is required for health. This has been the condition of the population for the last fifty years. To think that fair skin populations have had a ten-fold increase in the melanoma rate over the last fifty years is very concerning. Australia’s promotion of sun protection did not seem to help the problem because of misinformation about chemical sunscreens. Your best experience in the sun is to not burn first and do not depend on sunscreen to prevent cancer as it may make it worse.
Do go into the sun when the UVB is the highest for the best results for vitamin D production between the hours of 11 am to 2 pm. Do not allow yourself to be burned by the sun. After an adequate time for vitamin D production, protect your skin with clothes and hats. Embrace our long heritage in receiving life from the sun – enjoy it. – Pandemic Survivor