There is a common concept that the sunbath at a beach without using sunscreen may cause skin cancer. However, studies reveal that these sunscreens impose greater risks of skin cancer among individuals. These studies have confirmed that routine use of sunscreens increases the risks of melanoma i.e. the deadliest form of skin cancer. Furthermore, you’ll be surprised to know that melanoma is rendered less aggressive if you have higher previous sun exposure.
A study, published in the Journal of Chromatography B in 2004, examined the penetration of the sunscreens after application. The researchers from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Pharmacy conducted the study. The study evaluated the ability of four common sunscreen agents to penetrate the skin after topical application. It concluded that all the agents significantly penetrated into the skin.
All the sunscreens, upon evaluation, have been found to pack dangerous chemicals. Plus as mentioned above the sunscreen agents are reasonably absorbed in the skin as well. Thus, sunscreens are rendered potentially harmful. They’re unable to block harmful UV rays from penetrating the skin, because of quick absorption and low adsorption.
The researchers also found that chemicals in the sunscreens generate free radicals in the body. They produce oxidative stress leading to cancer. Moreover, these chemicals also disrupt the hormonal secretions in the body. Infertility, allergies and behavioral changes are some of their additional threats. They also destroy the natural protective microbiome by interfering with the beneficial microbes in the skin.
What do the other studies say?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the body responsible for regulating sunscreens. It admits that it isn’t aware of data that demonstrates sunscreen to help prevent skin cancer.
A similar, 2015 study from the UC Berkeley and Clinica de Salud del Valle Salinas was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. It found that sunscreens’ damage is reversible in nature. Taking a short break from using these sunscreens may result in a substantial decrease in the hormone-disrupting chemicals in the body.
Another hazardous outcome of using sunscreen and harmful personal care products is the pollution of the oceans. The sunscreens, not absorbed into the skin, are washed off into the oceans or water, we swim in. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are often used in the sunscreen formulations. The reaction of these particles with the sunshine and water gives rise to hydrogen peroxide.
The researchers, from the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies in Spain, evaluated the seawater from a beach in Majorca. They found that approximately 4 kg (or 8.8 pounds) of the titanium dioxide is released into the ocean annually, during the summer. This may result in a 400-fold increase in hydrogen peroxide levels which severely impacts marine life.
How to avoid the problem?
The first and foremost step to avoid the problem is to limit the use of sunscreen and other harmful, personal care products.
Secondly, people are advised to ensure a sufficient amount of Vitamin-D in their body. This is because Vitamin-D plays a crucial role in preventing cancer and other autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases. To serve that purpose, one should expose at least 60 percent of their body to the sun. The duration of exposure, for lighter toned people, is between 15 and 20 minutes each day. People with darker skin will need up to 45 minutes of exposure.
Furthermore, non-nanotech zinc oxide is a very effective and safe UV ray blocker. Shea butter, coconut, eucalyptus or aloe vera can also be applied to the skin before and after sun exposure. They may boost natural protective abilities to avoid skin problems.