Huh? Sunscreen 'Increases Cancer Risk'
Two separate reports from respected
European researchers have surfaced just in time for prime beach season, and
both have reached a bizarre, head-scratching conclusion, reports the BBC
News Online: Sunscreen increases your risk of skin cancer.
When shopping for sunscreen, you have to speak the language. SPF, UVA, UVB,
Parsol 1789, zinc oxide, and titanium oxide. What does it all mean?
Report No. 1:
Dr. Philippe Autier, a scientist at the European Institute of
Oncology in Milan, published a study in the Journal of the National Cancer
Institute concluding that people who use sunscreen, especially products with
a higher SPF number, tend to stay in the sun much longer because they feel
protected from sunburn. And by doing that, they are actually increasing
their risk of skin cancer. A spokesman for Autier emphasized to the BBC,
"Don't stop using sunscreens, but do remember that you shouldn't use them so
you can sunbathe longer." Autier told the BBC that he began his research
when he noticed children who were out in the sun and had used sunscreen had
more skin moles, which is a sign of possible cancer risk. He wondered if
sunscreens were making sunbathers overconfident. "Consumers should be warned
that using a sunscreen may increase the amount of time spent in the sun,"
said Autier. "Because of that it may increase your risk of cancer."
Here's a way to go to the beach and not get sunburned. You might even spot a
diva in the dune if you look very closely.
Report No. 2:
The BBC News Online reports that British biochemist Dr. John
Knowland of Oxford University has determined that the "cocktail of
chemicals" in sunscreens could be converted into free radicals that can
damage cells and cause cancer. "The important thing to remember is that a
sunscreen that absorbs energy cannot actually destroy that energy, it has to
do something with it," he explained to the BBC. "The concern that some
people have is that they can convert the light energy into chemical energy,
which is potentially damaging." He is studying how sunlight on human skin
can affect DNA. Still, the best way to care for your skin in the sun is with
a sunscreen lotion that contains both UVA and UVB protection. And don't stay
out too long.