Project Alicia : Sunscreen Causes Cancer?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunscreen Causes Cancer?

Holy Crap? WHAT?? This shocking news has caused me some serious undo angst.

I can do no right. Just when you are convinced that you are doing the right thing they go and do some study that disproves everything that you thought to be true.

If you haven't followed me long you may not know that I have had several moles removed. One mole was in the last stage prior to melanoma.

I was feeling a bit like damaged goods. Read all about it here and learn the ABCs of moles as well.

I have to take precautions. But how is one to do this if sunscreen actually causes more damage?

What does this mean for a fair skinned creature such as myself?

MSN posted an article by Marie Claire stating that "nearly half of the 500 most popular sunscreens may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer such as melanoma."

Turns out it is the Vitamin A ingredient that is the culprit. Check your sunscreens.

They go on to explain that fair skinned individuals should use SPF of 45-50 with UVA and UVB coverage. But that anything more than that is not really doing much more.

Another key to safer skin is to get sunscreens with "helioplex, such as neutrogena's line or with Mexoryl like La Roche-Posay."

I have been a huge sunscreen advocate for the last few years since my first scary moles were removed. My children, of course, are not a big fan of this. Since we learned about Pokey's skin condition we have been even more vigilant, switching to Neutrogena with SPF 45 for her face.

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I am disturbed by these recent findings. And can only hope that I am not doing more bad than good in my quest to protect myself and my family from damaging rays that cause skin cancer.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you think that there is validity to the recent findings or is this just another "apples cause cancer" scare?

29 comments:

  1. Hello,

    I am too shocked by this shocking news. I am 22 years old, and for 5 years I loved tanning...sad but true...I loved being dark...and when I would get burnt - it would hurt but I felt a sense of relief knowing it would soon turn into a tan. It really isn't something I am proud of. Since I was really young I have moles so I wasn't too worried. Last May, I decided that I wanted to remove one for cosmetic reasons. I have many and many of which are new but still didn't react to them. I went to see my family doctor and when he looked at my body thoroughly, he began talking and all I heard him say was 'can turn to melanoma quickly'. I have now been seeing a specialist, in which I have another apointment Tuesday. Since last May I have already removed 9 moles. So this update on your blog actually worries me as I do not tan, I wear sunscreen daily, its in my moisturizer.

    Thanks for sharing.

    S.

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  2. Wow. This is interesting. I really hope this is just a scare and that it isn't true. Otherwise, seriously what would people like you and I do? I have had 6 moles removed and get to have a yearly body checkup to make sure none have changed. I'm off to check ALL of our sunscreens!!

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  3. I read this article a week or two ago. Scary. But think about all of the chemicals in sunscreen and the fact that your skin is the largest organ in your body and it does kind of make sense.

    For years, my dad has always shunned all types of lotions, saying things like, "If you wouldn't put it in your body, why would you put it on your skin?"

    On the flip side, my husband and I asked a good friend of ours, who is a chemistry professor about this and he wasn't very concerned. ??? Who knows what to believe anymore?!

    Note: Neutrogena was on the "safe" list :)

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  4. Like you, I sunburn easily. I don't like using sunscreen, so most of the time I cover up as much as possible. I do use sunscreen when I have to, though.

    I haven't read the article, but I was surprised that the vitamin A ingredient was suspected. Doesn't that cause cells to reproduce more quickly? I wonder if that's part of the reason. But I'm just speculating.

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  5. Good gravy. Does everything cause cancer now? Seriously....but thanks for posting I'm going to have to check my sunscreens.

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  6. It's so discouraging that everything that is *supposed* to be good for us eventually turns out to be bad. I feel like locking myself in the house sometimes, but then I know a study would be released saying that people who lock themselves in their house have a higher rate of developing a deadly disease. Or something.

    Thanks for the heads up on this, I know I'll be on the lookout for new sunscreen prior to vacation so this is good to know!

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  7. Are you serious? I had NO idea about this study. Awesome. After we just get back from Texas where we bathed in sunscreen daily. Lame. So annoying! Thanks for sharing, I'm throwing all mine away NOW and getting the safe brand!

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  8. seriously?!?! that's nuts! i have to say - i'm not a big advocate of sunscreen, and i'm super moley like you.

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  9. My kids are always coated and I must say that I am slowing beginning to slather the sunscreen on myself and definitely need to get a few moles removed. (did you go to your regular doc or dermatologist?)

    It is just so hard to know what is safe and when new findings come out it is sometimes hard to spread the word or stay on top of the newest news.

    do you have sugguestions for the top brands of sunscreen that you would use?

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  10. I read about this or heard about it a few weeks ago and I'm just freaking exasperated.

    We get vigilant about something only to find it could be bad for our kids and ourselves. It's so frustrating. I gotta go check the sunscreen I'm currently using to see if it's on the safe list. WTF?

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  11. I swear, it sometimes seems like everything causes cancer. I am very vigilant about wearing sunscreen and checking moles. My Dad died because of it and I am a red head so me and the sun don't exactly get along to begin with. I just bought some more sunscreen and will be checking it to make sure it is ok before using it. Thanks for this information as I hadn't heard anything yet.

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  12. I added this link to my blog! thank you for the info. www.littlecitizensoftheworld.blogspot.com

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  13. I did read the article- and my husband forwarded it to me from work shortly after I saw it the first time. It makes since, the Vit. A promotes faster cell reproduction. Cancer is a mutated cell. A bummer is that the list of sunscreens with out the vit A- with the possible exception of the nutrogena- are all ones that cost and arm and a leg and are hard to find! I know there is no price for our health and that of our kids- but when you live in a sunny state and go through bottles of sunscreen a year it really adds up!!

    Im hoping this info will cause sunscreen manufacturers to start changing formulas and making them safer!!

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  14. heres the link to the good sunscreens!! (and unfortunately, neutrogena isnt on the list)

    http://www.ewg.org/2010sunscreen/best-beach-sport-sunscreens/

    there is also an option to search for the sun screen you use and see the ratings.

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  15. Holy cow. I have not heard this until now. We are on the water most weekends now, owning a boat. I also had a mole removed recently and am super freckley and moley, though I tan super easy. But my kids, I lather up with sunscreen every weekend. Great.

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  16. I've never heard this before, so I'm hoping it's just a scare and not true. I think it does more to protect you than harm you.

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  17. This is just awful news especially for me and my family as we are probably the palest people in Florida and must wear sunscreen at all times.

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  18. I am really sorry about all of your scary moles. I also have to get checked yearly and always seem to have new moles that need removed. Since we live in Seattle and the sun shines so rarely we have to really watch how much sunscreen we use. I love sunscreen but our bodies also need that wonderful sunshine to get in. We wear ALOT of hats and always have umbrellas around. Where I screw up is when I run. I always forget to put on the screen and end up with burnt shoulders. such a bummer. thank you so much for sharing all of this info. I'm off to read the back of yet another package. Its always something! :-)

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  19. Do you ever feel like everything causes cancer? I do and get overwhelmed by it!

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  20. They're killing us with everything these days. I, too, am a pre-melanoma victim. I do believe in Neutrogena. Not only is everything they make good for your skin, they use the safest products out there. My dermatologist is a firm believer in their skin care line.

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  21. Wow! I guess we can never catch a break with what we do! Going Target shopping later and sunscreen was on my list - going to look at the label! Thanks for sharing!!

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  22. hmmm, this is very interesting. I'm going to have to run this by my sister-in-law who is a dermatologist, to see what she thinks of this. I've been using sunscreen since forever and thank God it's always been Neutrogena with helioplex! thanks for the info!

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  23. I tend to believe it's real. As I do more research about products and foods, there is so much that is in our "every day" stuff that could be considered toxic and dangerous. It's hard because obviously we don't want sunburns because that can lead to cancer but we also don't want cancer from sunscreen. ARGH!

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  24. I read this a few weeks ago, too. I've been putting my kids in those rash-guard swim shirts, figuring that a physical barrier to the sun is safer than a sunscreen. I wish they made them for moms too!

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  25. ...so we are better off going to the beach without any sunscreen on? oh god, these researches really annoy me in a confusingly bad way. time to stock up on the sunscreen that you've mentioned in this post. good job!

    ~ash's mum

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  26. This is definitely scary stuff! Skin cancer is no joke. I know I need to be more diligent about applying sunscreen to myself and my kids. I'll definitely have to look into that list of safe sunscreens. Are we safe from anything these days?

    Kristi, Live and Love...Out Loud
    @TweetingMama

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  27. Great, yet another thing to be worried about... thank you for sharing this. Skin cancer is serious s&*%!!

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  28. By the way, I tweeted this and put it on my facebook page!

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  29. I think NPR interviewed dermatologists and got their opinion. They were unflustered. I second the commenter who mentioned EWG. They recommended California Baby stick and we're using that.

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