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Sunscreen – Friend or Foe?

By Dr. Samantha Stoler

Suncreen at AboutSkin DermatologyHave you read articles declaring that sunscreen is dangerous?

The media has tricked people into questioning the safety and benefits of sunscreen and claim there is “The sunscreen dilemma” – it’s not really a dilemma at all.

Ultraviolet light is a proven carcinogen.  Daily use of zinc or zinc and titanium based sunscreens effectively reduce exposure to the damaging effects of Ultraviolet Light.

What we know from scientific data:

  • UV exposure undoubtedly increases the risk of basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. These are skin cancers that can occur in cosmetically devastating areas.  They often need to be surgically removed.  Melanoma causes are multi-factorial.  UV exposure is included and tanning beds increase the risk of melanoma tremendously.  Melanoma can kill.
  • Sunscreen definitively reduces the amount of sun damage to skin cells.  DAILY use with reapplication minimizes the effects of photo-aging.  These signs include: hyperpigmentation (sun spots), wrinkling and thinning of the skin, and broken blood vessels.  You do not need to be getting burned to be damaging and mutating your DNA.  The damage is cumulative.
  • Chemical sunscreens may stimulate estrogen receptors and cause more skin cancer if you are a rat and are force-fed hundreds of times the amount of sunscreen that humans apply to their skin over a lifetime.
  • Physical blockers are better anyway.  As single agents they offer a broad spectrum of coverage against both UVA and UVB.  They do not absorb into the cells and negate the chemical “fear.”  Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (physical blockers) are also more hypo-allergenic.  These are the best sunscreens for both kids and adults!

Take oral Vitamin D.  There is no “safe” 10 minutes a day.  This is especially true in Colorado living at high altitude and enjoying many sunny days.