Wear sunscreen

As a relatively pale person of northern European descent, I find sunscreen to be invaluable. ug-leeI have absolutely no problem being the guy with the light bulb nose. It’s way better than the Rudolph nose later, and undoubtedly superior to developing skin cancer or even just unsightly sunspots.

Now that the weather is getting nicer, sunscreen sales will be increasing, but not everyone is happy about this. There are a number of quacks out there who will peddle false information about vitamin D. Some of them will go the even more egregious route of saying sunscreen doesn’t protect against cancer.

Don’t let these quacks fool you. Sunscreen absolutely protects against the rays of the Sun which can and often do lead to cancer:

Sun protection is essential to skin cancer prevention – about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun. Furthermore, years of scientific research have provided compelling evidence that the daily use of sunscreen helps lower the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers. Most recently, in a rigorous study of more than 1,600 adults over the course of a decade, researchers determined that subjects applying sunscreen with an SPF of 16 daily reduced their risk of melanoma by 50 percent.

Unlike quack medicine, sunscreen is safe and effective. I foolishly got a sun burn last month, acting on the assumption that “Maine”, “April”, and “sun burn” were three things I would never have to use in the same sentence. I was wrong. I’ve been making it a point to protect my skin every nice day we’ve had since. It can be tedious, and it’s not always convenient, but cancer treatment is often pretty tedious and inconvenient itself.

Americans aren’t using sunscreen

…thereby raising their risk of cancer.

Despite the attention of the healthcare industry on the role of sunscreen in preventing skin cancer, about 40 percent of Americans never apply sunscreen at all before going out and only 9 percent wear it everyday, the poll of 1,004 people, showed.

One of the regions with the lowest use of sunscreen was the South, where 46 percent of people said they never using sunscreen at all during the summer. The age group with the lowest rate of sunscreen use was 18- to 29-year-olds at four percent.

Men were also much more likely not to use sunscreen before going outside with 48 percent saying they do not wear it at all.

The biggest factor in the lack of sunscreen use, I suspect, is laziness. It’s a pain to put on every time one goes outside. Then there’s the fact that people don’t want to smell like the stuff all day. And, as the article cites, income gaps contribute as well. Unfortunately, that isn’t where it ends. There are also quacks who say irresponsible things like this.

First of all: realize that sunscreen blocks all UV activity to the skin. Your skin provides countless functions not least of which is the absorption and manufacture of the steroid vitamin D. Any sunblock chemicals used in moisturizers, lip balm, and make-up should be eliminated if vitamin D levels are to be properly maintained.

The ineffectiveness of sunblock chemicals has been known for over a decade. Even though it is clear that the use of sunblock does effectively prevent sunburns, the prevention of skin cancers has not been found in the research. Furthermore, it is now clear that at least some of the chemicals in sunblock cause cancer changes in the skin.

This is Richard Maurer, naturopath. I don’t think I need to go much further in explaining his quackeriness. Unfortunately, this sort of vitamin D obsession is common with the alt med crowd. They take something good and go all after it. I suspect part of the reason has to do with the ease in which they can recommend it since they are limited in just what they can prescribe, but it’s also probably partially that many big drug companies don’t have vitamin D as a major focus. If those guys aren’t pushing it, well, it must work, right? Evidenced be damned. (For the record, I’ve never read where Christopher Maloney has excessively pushed vitamin D or recommended against basic skin protection; the problem is still common with the alt med crowd, but that doesn’t mean it is universal.)

Wear sun block.