It may actually cause it.
Sunscreen Causes Cancer
This might touch a nerve with you. Slathering on sunscreen before going out in the sun has become as routine as brushing our teeth. We are inundated with messages from the media that sunscreen is the most effective way to prevent skin cancer.
Melanoma accounts for more than 75% of all skin cancer deaths–making it the most dangerous. Yet more incidences of melanoma occur in indoor workers than outdoor workers who are in the sun the entire day. And a study published in the European Journal of Cancer tells us that there is a higher survival rate in skin cancer patients who previously received more sunlight.
Researchers at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston have said that “there is no substantial evidence that sunscreen protects against any of the three forms of skin cancer.”
So what is really going on? And why will sunscreens not help you to prevent skin cancer?
Your skin is an absorbent organ. Anything we apply to our skin skips the digestive tract filter and enters the cells and bloodstream directly. Eventually, it will make its way to the liver and be broken down, but not until it’s had negative effects on living tissue in your body.
This is why I recommend you never put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat.
The Environmental Working Group compiled a review of over 1,700 market brands of sunscreen products and found that 3 out of 5 are only minimally protective or contain potentially harmful ingredients. The leading brands, says EWG, are the worst offenders.
The compounds that the EWG gave the highest health hazard ratings include:
- nano zinc oxide
- nano titanium oxide
- padimate O
- methyl antrhanilate
- methoryl SX
Oxtinoxate is the most widely used ingredient in sunscreens. It sensitizes skin to the sun and disrupts hormonal balances and brain signaling.
In 2008, oxybenzone was used as a chemical safeguard against UVA radiation in 52% of the sunscreens the EWG looked at. That number dropped by 19% after oxybenzone was found to be an endocrine disruptor found in 97% of American urine samples by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
Oxybenzone interferes with the hormonal system and releases free radicals that may contribute to the development of skin cancer. 9% of oxybenzone applied to the skin is absorbed into cells and blood vessels. It has also been linked to low female birth weights.
Padimate O can cause allergic reactions, disrupt the endocrine system and damage DNA.
The lower health-hazard-rated ingredients in the list may sensitize skin, increase the absorption of other compounds, break down into unknown compounds, have low stability or release DNA-damaging free radicals. There is also concern about the stockpiling of these ingredients in the body.
Dermatologist and professor at the University of Melbourne Robin Marks, M.B., M.P.H., reminds us that “relying on synthetic chemicals to prevent cancer is laughable.”
Yet these dangerous chemicals are not the only reason I can’t encourage you strongly enough to discontinue using these sunblocks.
UVA & UVB Rays
Sunlight is made of 3 different wavelengths:
- Ultraviolet A (UVA)
- Ultraviolet B (UVB)
- Ultraviolet C (UVC)
Ultraviolet C waves don’t reach the earth. UVA rays are more prevalent in the early morning and late afternoon hours. UVB rays are stronger during the middle of the day.
In years past, the majority of sunscreens only offered protection from UVB rays. The FDA doesn’t require that sunscreen formulas contain UVA filters, so historically most of them haven’t done so. A sunscreen’s sun protection factor (SPF) only takes into account the measure of UVB rays blocked.
What you won’t hear from the media is that melanoma rates are rising as our exposure to sunlight and vitamin D levels are decreasing.
When you avoid the sun entirely, you are ignoring one of our biggest defenses against many diseases, including skin cancer–Vitamin D!
It’s the UVB rays (stronger in the middle of the day) that will actually give you your best source of Vitamin D. The UVA rays (more prevalent in the early morning and late afternoon) will penetrate your skin and lead to long-term aging.
So the vitamin D-producing UVB rays can be considered the “good guys,” and the skin-damaging UVA rays can be considered the “bad guys.”
This is one theory as to why melanoma rates are higher among indoor workers. The only exposure to sunlight they receive is through glass windows in their office, home or car. And only the damaging UVA rays will pass through the glass.
Add to this the fact that sunscreens will block out any UVB rays those people might have received, and you’re left with a major Vitamin D deficiency.
The great thing about the way God designed our bodies is that the very thing that can cause damage to our bodies (ultraviolet rays) also protects us from that very same damage. Dr. John J. Cannell tells us that when you are out in the sunshine, Vitamin D goes directly to your genes and helps prevent any sort of abnormality that could be caused by ultraviolet light.
That is why sunscreen can actually contribute to cancer. Aside from the high amounts of toxicity, sunscreen blocks Vitamin D production in your body and you are left without nature’s built in cancer-fighting protection.
Mayo Clinic Staff (2009)
Environmental Working Group (2009)