Sun exposure, sun protection and skin cancer



Skin cancer rates continue to increase, even with millions of gallons of sun protection products sold and used on millions and millions of people. According to posts on a popular web site, people are finally starting to change the way they look at the sun.

After reading the article, \”The New Rules of Sun Safety\” hosted on Yahoo!, and then reading the comments, I realize that many people are starting to see the (sun)light. A lot of people are starting to realize that the chemicals in products, in this case sun protection products, may be the reason for the increase in skin cancer.

Skin cancer rates continue to climb and the age of first onset continues to decline. As the most common form of cancer, skin cancer is a major burden on our health care system. In 2004, the latest information I could find, the most common type of skin cancer, nonmelanoma, cost our health care system over $1.5 billion dollars.

According to the above-mentioned article, it is now being recommended that anti-oxidant rich lotions and creams be pre-applied to the skin before applying sun protection products. Wait, before all the sun \’protection\’ products, skin cancer rates were less than a third of the current rate. Skin cancer was most frequently found in older people rather than children and teens.

According to the National Cancer Institute, one cause of the increase in skin cancer is increased recreational use of the sun. While there may be increased recreational exposure to the sun, we are far removed from a time of lower skin cancer rates and higher exposure to the sun through outdoor work such as farming and daily outdoor play. Playgrounds that used to be full of children who had never heard of sun protection lotion all day long sit empty while the little ones are indoors most of the day, in day care centers due to the need for both parents to work to pay the bills.

There is the claim that diagnosis has increased with increased monitoring, or we didn\’t used to know what skin cancer was. We\’re talking the last 30 years, not the last 100 years. In the last 30 years, skin cancer rates have tripled, almost in direct correlation with the sales of chemical sunscreen products. In addition, more Americans are indoors from birth and farming has become a job for machines rather than people. It seems that as our species spends more time indoors, wearing sun protection and covering up to protect ourselves from the sun, we are more at risk for developing not only skin cancer, but a variety of other cancers and ailments associated with Vitamin D deficiency. However, I agree with increased monitoring to reduce the number of deaths associated with skin cancer. Monitoring definitely decreases the number of deaths, but does not increase prevalence. I\’m sure people who had open, weeping wounds or growths were going to the doctor 30 years ago, and the doctor would know that it was skin cancer. However, by that time it would have been too late to save the life. So, please, no matter where you stand on the sun protection issue, continue to monitor your skin for changes.

As more and more chemicals in sun protection lotions and creams are shown to increase the risk of developing skin cancer, for example, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, dixoybenzone, oxybenzone, PABA (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB, glyceryl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate-O or octyl dimethyl PABA), cinoxate, ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate, octocrylene, octyl methoxycinnamate, ethylhexyl salicylate, homosalate, octyl salicylate, digalloyl trioleate and Menthyl anthranilate are shown to increase the risk of developing skin and/or other cancers, one must consider that it may not be the sun, but the sun protection concoctions that are the main reason for the increase in skin cancer over the last 30 years. I have put a number of sun protection lotions and creams in the Sunflower Naturals Store – just click on the \’Sun Protection\’ link for a variety of safer? sun screen products. Feel free to check them out and purchase either through the online store or at a local natural source in your area. No one can guarantee that any product is safe, but these are products I would use on my own skin and my children when the need, such as a day at the beach, arises.

Common sense is beginning to prevail with regard to sun safety. It appears as though the key is not to burn. If you are going to be outdoors for an extended period, wear a hat and loose clothing that covers most of your body. Apply less toxic sun protection products to exposed areas. However, during your daily routine, or intentional full-body sun exposure, avoid the chemicals; enjoy the sun and the numerous health benefits from a reasonable, healthy level of sun exposure. Take your children outside to enjoy the many playgrounds and recreational facilities for exercise and sun exposure. Keep the visits short or be sure there is plenty of shade available to avoid sunburn.

As a nation, we cannot afford all this skin cancer and sickness associated with our current chemically saturated home and body environments. We need to go back to the way things were before the increase in chemicals, cancers and sickness. It is far less costly to use chemicals when needed to prevent burning, and to enjoy time in the sun for the health benefits of sun exposure than to buy more chemicals, more products and more pills to compensate for the adverse health effects of the chemicals and avoiding, safe, healthy sun exposure.

Yahoo!Shine!: The New Rules of Sun Safety
National Cancer Institute: Skin Cancer – Deaths The Chemical Sunsreen Health Disaster
AOLNews: Study: Many Sunscreens May Be Accelerating Cancer
FOXNews: Senator Urges Release of Sunscreen Chemical Data