One of the stupidest and longest running medical follies is the daft story that sunlight causes skin cancer. It does NOT, it protects against skin cancer. It’s vital for your long-term health that you grasp this and stop listening to the dangerous propaganda being expounded by ignorant MDs and research scientists.
Those of you who have read Medicine Beyond or its earlier incarnation Virtual Medicine, will know I quoted research that made it quite plain that hiding from the sun increases your risk of cancer many times over.
Rates of melanoma – the most deadly form of skin cancer – have tripled over the past 35 years. Most scientists and public health agencies – including the FDA itself – have found very little evidence that sunscreen prevents most types of skin cancer.
Even if sunscreens did work (75% don’t), shouldn’t that incidence have gone down? If Scott-Mumby is right yet again, then rates of melanoma have gone up because the wrong advice is being given!
This story has many parallels with the saturated fat argument. Avoiding fat cost hundreds of millions of people their lives. The rates of heart disease soared. Advice to avoid sunlight is NOT WORKING and is also costing unnecessary lives.
A paper published in the 7th August 1982 edition of the prestigious journal The Lancet, based on a study carried out jointly between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Sydney’s Melanoma Clinic, found that the incidence of malignant melanoma was far higher in office workers than in those who were regularly exposed to sunlight due to lifestyle or occupation.1
In other words, the people most likely to get skin cancer are those pale, pasty individuals who work in offices, behind glass, who see very little direct sunlight on their skin and then—when they go on vacation and try to get a tan—they get a nevus which later turns bad.
So it only appears that sunlight is dangerous and “causes” skin cancers.
As I wrote in Medicine Beyond, when scientific opinion departs from common sense, it is nearly always science that is found wrong in the end. In this case it is dangerously wrong! Light simply cannot be both a nutrient and a poison at normal ambient levels.
Sunscreen Not Working
Add to what you have just learned – the fact that sunscreen has recently been shown to be completely ineffective against new moles and therefore the risk of malignant melanoma. This, of course, is completely contrary to what sunscreen manufacturers want you to believe.
The study looked at children, comparing parental reports of sunscreen use and sun exposure to the number of new moles found when children were examined at the age of 15 years. There should be fewer skin lesions among children who regularly used sunblock, as prescribed. In fact there was no difference whatever.2
Dr. Lori Crane, PhD, professor of community and behavioral health at the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora, presented the results at the American Public Health Association 2016 Annual Meeting.
“It’s not perfect, but our study is the longest-term nevus study ever conducted,” Dr. Crane said, “I think if there was a really strong effect, we would see something different in our data,” she told Medscape Medical News. The finding calls into question the whole message that sunscreen protects against skin cancer.
Of course the usual folly is then trotted out: that children and parents should remain cautious about sun exposure, even when sunscreen is applied. This is the WRONG advice.
Children should be made to play outdoors, in the sunshine, whenever possible and with a little skin covering as makes sense. Remember, even cloudy or overcast days still have substantial sunlight.
The Pale Skin Argument
There is always concern that individuals with pale skin are more at risk. They should thickly slather on the sunblock, so the argument goes. But now this advice can be exposed as worthless and even dangerous.
The Aurora study did find an apparent effect in lighter-skinned children who had at least three sunburns from 12 to 14 years of age. This group has significantly fewer moles if they used sunscreen than if they did not. However, Dr. Crane herself points out that an association might have occurred by chance, because the team performed many sub-analyses (messing around with the figures), which would increase the odds of a spurious (statistically meaningless) finding.
So where do we end up? Sunscreen has long been touted as a protective measure against melanoma and sunburns, but existing evidence has suggests otherwise.
Sunscreens are supposed to block ultraviolet (UV)B rays, which are known to cause melanoma, but many do not block UVA rays. Although UVA radiation was long thought to produce only tans, it has recently also been linked to melanoma.
So, if you want to ignore my advice to get outdoors, make sure you use a newer broad-spectrum sunscreen that block both UVA and UVB radiation. However…
The SPF Hoax
This is probably a good place to trot out important remarks about SPFs (sunburn protection factor). Here’s what I wrote in the summer of 2012 and it remains true today:
The truth is, you don’t need anything above factor 15. That blocks around 94% of the suns rays. Why on Earth would you need more? The only way to block 100% sun is to stay indoors and hide in the dark. But I have just told you, we NEED sun to protect against cancers.
Of course, the industry only wants profits. So now that fear is running strong, the shelves are lined with products from companies such as Banana Boat, Coppertone, and Aveeno touting supposed-SPF ratings of 70+, 80+, and 90+. Now Neutrogena has introduced Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock with a factor of 100+.
It’s madness. It’s dishonest.
For one thing, the public is fooled into thinking a factor 80 is twice as good as factor 40; or factor 100 twice as good as a 50. It’s rubbish.
An SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays; and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays.
You read that right: SPF 30 blocks 97% of the suns rays. Why go higher?
And if this leaves you flabbergasted, don’t forget too that 75% of sunscreens are worthless or even dangerous!
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Sunscreen report for 2016, almost three-fourths of the products examined offered inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients like oxybenzone, a hormone disruptor, or retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that may harm skin.
And despite little or no evidence, the government still allows most sunscreens to claim they help prevent skin cancer.
LAST WORD: Finally, don’t forget that you absorb through the skin lots of the oily grease and schlock in creams and ointments. Your liver doesn’t like that. It hates unnatural filth! Look after your poor liver!
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1. Beral V, et al.,‘Malignant melanoma and exposure to fluorescent light’ Lancet 2 (1982) pp 290-292.
2. American Public Health Association (APHA) 2016 Annual Meeting: Abstract 363065. Presented November 1, 2016.