Sunscreen May Cause Cancer

sunscreen and cancer

Did you know that most sunscreen products may actually help promote cancer rather than prevent it? That being the case, you should think twice before you marinate yourself in all those chemicals that can be found in any commercially made sunscreen products. In addition to absorbing chemicals through your skin, sunscreens block the body’s absorption of ultraviolet radiation, which produces vitamin D in the skin.

As studies have shown, Vitamin D prevents up to 77 percent of all cancers. Note, however, that the study was conducted on “healthy women” only, and in a certain age bracket.

If some, or all, of the ingredients found in sunscreen products have the potential to cause cancer, then why do dermatologists, doctors, and the American Cancer Society tell us to use sunscreen — daily — and lots of it?

As much as we would like to believe so, doctors do not know everything there is to know about how various chemicals/pharmaceuticals react in the body. Perfect example: in the haste to bring a new drug to market, studies are often done on a very small group of “healthy” people, for a short period of time. It wasn’t that long ago when doctors where highly recommending HRT, Vioxx, and countless other pharmaceuticals that later proved to cause cancer and/or death. Doctors don’t always know what’s best.

An amusing note that speaks volumes as to what is “doctor recommended” — Lane library has an exhibit surrounding the use of doctors espousing the safety of smoking in advertising. The ads cover the period from the 1920’s through 1950’s. In some cases smoking was even suggested as a cure for a sore throat! The exhibit is called Not a cough in a carload: Images from the tobacco industry’s campaign to hide the hazards of smoking, and was put together by Robert Jackler, Professor and Chair of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, and Professor of Neurosurgery and Surgery, Laurie Jackler, Artist, and Robert Proctor, Professor of History. The Journal of the American Medical Association ran numerous ads promoting Camels as “recommended by more doctors than any other cigarette!” Doctors talked up the “benefits” of smoking cigarettes.

Sunscreen sales continue to go up every year… skin cancers are also on the rise.

Whether some or all of the ingredients found in sunscreens are toxic remains controversial and there are studies on either side of the issue. However a study in the April 2004 Journal of Chromatography found that there is significant penetration of all sunscreen agents they studied into the skin, and oxybenzone and metabolites across the skin. For that matter, anything you put on your skin will be absorbed into your body.

If you’re going to use a sunscreen look for a natural alternative to commercial sunscreens that contain no petrochemicals, such as aloe vera gel; it works as a natural sunscreen, and helps heal a sunburn.

The best natural sunscreen, however, is an internal sunscreen built with nutrition. Some experts recommend elderberry, spirulina, grape seed extract (which, according to researchers from the University of Alabama, may protect against skin cancer), raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. There may also be a protective effect from foods such as fish, beans, carrots, chard, pumpkin, cabbage, broccoli, and vegetables containing beta-carotene and vitamin C. Studies on animals suggest that lignans, substances found in foods such as soy and flaxseed, may also help fight cancer in general, including the spread of melanoma from one part of the body to another.

Sources:

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2004 Apr 25;803(2):225-31.