Newsletter 7 :: 06/01/2012

Sunshine helps prevent skin cancer while sunscreens promote it

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 by: Paul Fass

There are three types of skin cancer - of which melanoma is the most dangerous and potentially lethal because it can metastasize into other body parts. The other two non-melanoma types, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, are treatable and not as threatening or able to metastasize as melanoma.

Most skin cancer cases are of the basal cell carcinoma type, which can destroy surrounding tissue and disfigure facial skin areas if unchecked. It is advisable to check with a dermatologist if you have any unusual new moles or sores that won't heal anywhere on your skin. Skin biopsies are easy to perform.

Mainstream medicine blames the sun for all three types, and recommends sun screen lotions to block sun exposure. But one should take their sloppy science of prevention with several grains of salt.

Just about any dermatologist still holds to the myth that you need to avoid direct sunlight or lather your body with sunscreen to avoid skin cancer. Recently, the opposite has been determined to be true in both cases.

Sloppy science that harms more than helps

There are two basic types of ultra-violet (UV) rays from the sun that affect us: UVA and UVB. Ultra-violet A (UVA) rays have little or no benefit, and can cause some skin damage that initially shows as sunburn and eventually dries and ages the skin. UVA rays are steady throughout the day. Most sunscreens do not block harmful UVA rays. But most of them contain toxic and carcinogenic ingredients.

Natural lotions and many European sunscreens are more beneficial and less toxic. This requires some serious label reading. Simply using coconut oil, sunflower oil, jojoba (hoHOba) oil, eucalyptus oil, or shea butter is easier for preventing sun burn if you're concerned.

Glass windows and windshields do not filter out UVA rays. But they do manage to block UVB rays. UVB rays are involved with the beginning of a body's vitamin D3 production. And UVB rays peak during mid-day and are strongest during summers and nearer the equator. They are not the same throughout the day as UVA rays are.

So the sloppy science says you must deprive yourself of sun bestowing vitamin D3 that helps to prevent cancer and boost the immune system while slathering your body with carcinogenic sunscreens that don't even block UVA rays. Makes no sense, does it?

Actually, those two medical suggestions have probably caused more skin cancer. Over the past few decades, skin cancer cases, especially melanoma, have risen dramatically. And it was a few decades ago that the sun-skin cancer links were made. This made selling sun screen lotions easy with no research on their harmful ingredients or inability to deflect UVA rays. That's not unusual for FDA approvals.

It's wise to pull out of the sun if your fair skin gets pink to avoid sunburn. As you tan, your sun exposure endurance increases. And don't worry about vitamin D3 toxicity from sunlight. It's almost impossible. As your D3 blood level increases, the body simply produces less regardless of the sun exposure time


When it comes to sunscreen you have two choices

Either chemical based where the active ingredient is mainly oxybenzone - benzophenone 3 or mineral based where the active ingredient is either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Only Zinc and Titanium offer broad spectrum coverage (protects against both UVA & UVB) that is why in chemical based sunscreens manufacturers have to combine a few different active chemical ingredients in order to achieve full protection.  Also, chemical based ingredients include all sorts of other synthetic ingredients including fragrance and preservatives.  A high quality  mineral based sunscreens will only 1 active ingredient and a handful of other natural ingredients. Oxybenzone is proven to be very easily absorbed through the skin.

Zinc and Titanium must be at a high concentration in order to provide full coverage so read the fine print.  Often products will say "mineral based" but will only contain 6 or 7 % concentration.  It is best to look for a product with 18 - 22% concentration of the active mineral ingredient.  There are very few products that hold up to these standards.

Zinc and Titanium are the only ingredients that will provide a Physical Barrier.  Physical Barrier means that the Zinc or Titanium actually "reflects and scatters" the UV as apposed to the Oxybenzone that "absorbs" the UV.

Jess Bartelse

Product Research

Holistic Nutrition, Nature's Apotheke