Does Sunscreen Cause Skin Cancer?

The sun is necessary for all human life. Without the warming rays of this massive star, life on this planet would cease to exist. Every living creature, including mankind, needs sunlight in order to live.

Humans have been exposed to the sun since the beginning of time. Sadly, our respect for the sun has diminished through the years.

Our bodies use sunlight in a number of ways. Sunlight helps the skin produce vitamin D, which is needed to build bones, keep inflammation down, boost the immune system and protect against cancer (even skin cancer).

So, why has the sun been demonized? How is it that we now fear the sun and treat it as if it were our enemy? For more than 30 years, doctors, beauty experts, health officials and skin care product manufacturers have sent out strong warnings regarding the dangers of the sun. We have been told to avoid any sun exposure without sunscreen because the rays will damage our skin and cause skin cancer.

However, this is not entirely true, and is actually a great oversimplification of the truth. Well-researched and documented studies show that vitamin D optimization may actually prevent up to 16 different types of cancer. The best way to optimize vitamin D levels is through safe, smart and limited sunscreen-free exposure to the sun.

No Fat, No Salt and No Sun

We have been warned to abstain from fat, abstain from salt and abstain from time in the sun, when in fact, all three of these are good for us when consumed in the right way. The body needs healthy saturated fat, non-refined salt and sunlight in order to function optimally.

The fear over sunshine has done nothing but contribute to an increase in vitamin D deficiency as more people spend less time outdoors, or slather on sunscreen which blocks out the much-needed vitamin completely. As many as 75% of Americans are vitamin D deficient, and this is thought to be the most common medical condition in the world today.

Sadly, researchers tell us that the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency is being passed down through generations. Studies indicate that infants who are deficient in vitamin D may develop chronic conditions later in life. Clearly we are doing something wrong!

Be Sun Smart

So, if sunshine is necessary it is also necessary – crucial, in fact – that we learn how to respect this huge flaming star that heats our earth and sustains life. Respect for the sun means honoring and harnessing its life-promoting powers without overdoing it.

There are rules, and playing or laying all day in the hot sun without any protection and getting burned to a crisp is not the answer. If we are smart about our sun exposure, it will do wonders for our health.

Limit your exposure to early morning or evening sun. Try to stay in the shade between the hours of 12 and 3pm, this is when the sun’s rays are the hottest and can cause the most damage. Wear lightweight, white clothing, if possible, and a hat if you have to be in the sun for long periods of time.

Be Cautious of Sunscreen

The very thing that is supposed to protect us from the sun could actually be doing more harm than good. The deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, has been on the rise by about 3.5 percent per year since 1992, says the American Melanoma Foundation. This rise in melanoma has been paralleled by an 4.2 percent increase in sunscreen use; however, people are still getting melanoma.

sunThis could be a very sad irony indeed. Sunscreen that contains vitamin A or retinol may actually speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when sunlight is present, according to a 2009 study done by the National Toxicology Program.

The Food and Drug Administration published a study in 2011 that concluded the same thing. Since this time, consumer advocates have been urging the FDA to restrict the use of vitamin A in topical products.

Many sunscreens are also loaded with toxic materials that seep into our bodies via our pores, which open up when warm. It is best to wear lightweight, protective clothing when in the sun. If you want to use sunscreen, the Environmental Working Group has a list of sunscreens that are considered safe and effective.

You can also use organic coconut oil, it is a safe and effective sunscreen that blocks out 20% of the sun’s harmful rays. When you need just a little protection, this works great.

-The Alternative Daily


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