Just as we’re getting our swimsuits, flip flops, and sunscreen ready for another summer, JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association published a study stating that large amounts of sunscreen ingredients are found in the bloodstream of sunscreen users. The FDA has now ordered sunscreen manufacturers to do safety testing on the chemicals they put in sunscreen. At this point, the FDA is stating they really don’t know the effects these chemicals have on us. However, studies from EWG or Environmental Working Group have cautioned us for years on the use of certain chemicals in sunscreen stating they can potentially cause cancer, hormone disruption (thyroid issues, estrogen or androgen disruption), and birth defects. The following charts break down the chemicals in sunscreen and the research so far.
Safe for use per EWG & FDA
Mexoryl SX (pending FDA approval)
Avoid use per EWG & caution/avoid per FDA
Avobenzone?? (needs further study)
To read the full EWG study check out the following link: https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/the-trouble-with-sunscreen-chemicals/
If you have a smart phone, download the EWG Healthy Living Skin Deep and Food Scores app. You can scan sunscreen bar codes to figure out what is the safest, most effective sunscreen to buy.
Now that you know what sunscreen to purchase, the following excerpt from my Luca article published Summer, 2017 outlines why you still need to use sunscreen and how to use it properly.
Did you know, according to the National Cancer Institute:
Here’s what you can do to prevent skin cancer:
- In the past 30 years melanoma (the deadly kind of skin cancer) has tripled in the U.S.
- The incidence of melanoma in teens is increasing by 2.9% every year.
- In 2016, 10,000 Americans died of melanoma.
- The American Cancer Society estimates over two million Americans get skin cancer each year, usually the nonfatal forms--basal and squamous cell cancer.
- Children and teens who get five or more sunburns or have intermittent intense exposure to the sun are twice as likely to get melanoma
- Squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma increases by more than 60% for those who use tanning beds in college and/or high school.
- In 2009, the World Health Organization declared that the ultraviolet light emitted from tanning beds is a carcinogen.
- The most important risk factor for basal cell cancer of the skin is exposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight or tanning beds especially in childhood or teen years.
- According to a study published in The Archives of Dermatology, both squamous and basal cell carcinoma can be reduced by almost 80% with aggressive sun protection before eighteen years old.
- Never use tanning beds-surely I’ve convinced you of this!
- Avoid midday sun exposure when the sun is most intense, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Seek shade when possible.
- Wear hats, sunglasses, and photo protective clothing with a UPF rating 25 or more.
- Apply sunscreen lip balm SPF 30.
- Use sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher that is broad spectrum meaning it has UVA and UVB protection.
- Apply sunscreen fifteen to thirty minutes before you go out and reapply every one to two hours or after swimming.
- Use enough sunscreen. Follow the teaspoon rule:
1 teaspoon for your face and neck
2 teaspoons for your front and back
1 teaspoon to each arm
2 teaspoons to each leg
- Avoid sunscreen sprays. Sprays may be quick but you risk inhaling unhealthy chemicals and you may miss protecting areas of your skin which will then increase your skin cancer risk.
By Dr. Karen Prentice D.O. F.A.A.P.
Excerpt from original publication Luca Magazine Summer 2017
To read full Luca article and more from the author go to www.anappleadaythedoctorsway.com