I just read an interesting piece in a newsletter of Dr. Glenn King of the King Institute, an organization advocating natural wellness.  I attended his session a few years ago here in Metro Manila.  The piece may affect the Caucasians more than the brown skinned like us, however during summer everyone still goes to the beach and the use of Sun screens are very rampant.  Below is something to consider before using one.

We are in the time of year when many people flock to the beaches, parks and other sunny places like the back yard to bath in the sun's rays, or as it is in Texas, just plain difficult to avoid the piercing sun rays.  

Most sun bathers liberally use sunblock or tanning lotions in an attempt to protect themselves from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun.   This includes those who wish to avoid damaging sun rays in daily work or life, even in winter season, like skiing can produce too much skin exposure to the sun's rays.

Some people may still think think the government and FDA are truly watching out for you and that all these sunscreen products require testing for long-term health effects.  Well, neither the manufacturers nor the government look into long-term effects to protect you.
It is wise to never assume someone is looking out for you better than you could yourself.  I've known these products were bad many years ago when I lived in southern Florida in my late teens.  Working outside, short on skin pigment, and with blue eyes you can get burns on your burns.  I tried some different sunscreens and they seemed to burn or irritate my skin.  So I knew there was something wrong with them and stopped using them altogether. Then several years later I found out they are actually toxic.  Now I find out that sunscreens may be more likely than sunshine to cause cancer! 

It would seem that the increased use of sunscreens should show a related decrease in cases of skin cancer over time.  Statistics show a very different truth?
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit consumer research organization, said "despite increased use of sunscreen products, incidents of skin cancer in the United States continue to rise"! 

An awakening 2011 study on skin cancer and sunscreens and the science behind them conducted by the EWG concluded that sunscreens:
  • May decrease the occurrence of squamous cell carcinoma
  • Have no demonstrated influence on basal cell carcinoma
  • May INCREASE risk of MELANOMA when used during intentional sun exposure, such as when staying outdoors for lengthy periods
Wow, that seems to be the opposite of the product's promotions and what most everyone believes.  Did they really say "sunscreens may cause melanoma skin cancer"?  Yes!   Don't you just love the part about using sunscreens during intentional sun exposure?  Daah, I thought that was the purpose? 
Melanoma is the most feared and deadly form of skin cancer!   
How could sunscreens actually increase your risk for developing melanoma?  "Many sunscreen products produced over the last 30 years are effective at blocking UVB rays, while allowing higher UVA exposure. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, thereby causing more DNA damage", says EWG.
The EWG reported that "although many sunscreens now include UVA filters, many of the products available as late as 2011 still fell short in offering sufficient UVA protection."
One particular health researcher revealed that "lack of UVA safeguards isn't the only problem you'll run into with sunscreen use. These chemical cocktails may cause cancer in other ways"!

Artificial hormones in sunscreens harm your health!

Some of the chemicals in sunscreens actually result in taking the place of your body's own natural hormones.  Dr. Elizabeth Plourde, C.L.S., PhD, (clinical laboratory scientist and health researcher) wrote in her book Sunscreens-Biohazard: Treat as Hazardous Waste that she identified some of these chemicals.  They are a class of chemicals called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and are so similar in structure to natural hormones like androgen and estrogen that they actually can invade the space the natural hormones occupy, then take over!

EDCs substitute for your natural hormones- plus they also prevent the natural hormones from performing their job!  They are actually disabled.
"One group of researchers found that all 18 of the sunscreen chemicals examined were EDCs", says Dr. Plourde. If you've got a bottle at home, check the back label for any of these ingredients:  
Cinnamates (IMC)
These chemicals have repeatedly been shown to have a toxic effect on the reproductive system of lab animals.  Could they actually be causing similar problems we see on the rise in people?  "Researchers have concluded that early exposure to EDCs, combined with genetic propensity, contributes to adult testicular cancer, low testosterone levels and male infertility." says Dr. Plourde.

EDCs in sunscreen lead to increased risk of breast cancer, thyroid problems which affect metabolism, and problems with fetal development during pregnancy when they react as fake estrogen.

Vitamin A and its derivatives retinol and retinyl palmitate found in some sunscreens to help slow skin aging, actually may increase the development of cancer cells, and vitamin A used on skin exposed to sunlight can actually cause the formation of cancerous tumors, says the EWG report.

Actually the EWG reached its conclusion by examining results of a study released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Toxicology Program. Do you still think they are here to protect you?  Nothing has changed except for a report released.
I cringe at the sight of parents coating their babies, toddlers or older children with these toxic chemicals.  I know we need protection from harmful sunrays, but we also need protection from products that harm us and our children when they propose to protect us from the very things that they can cause. I'm not talking about sunburn but the delayed responses that takes lives daily - cancer!

Most everyone is well aware that overexposure to the sun's rays can damage your cell DNA and put you at serious risk for developing skin cancer.  It affects over two million Americans each year., says the American Cancer Society (ACS).

That statistic is skewed because most of these cases are actually basal cell carcinoma (BCC), which is a common type of skin cancer that starts out not much more life-threatening than a blemish, but can grow and spread.  Dermatologists persist in removing these spots surgically and charge several hundred dollars minimum per spot.

Estimates for 2012 deaths related to melanoma are just under 10,000 in the U.S. alone, and new cases in 2012 are estimated to be 76,250 for invasive melanoma. 

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer in humans, although basal cell skin cancer only accounts for 0.1% of deaths due to cancer.  Basal cell skin cancer tumors typically appear on sun-exposed skin, are slow growing, and rarely metastasize (0.028-0.55%).  

BCC usually appears as a flat, firm, pale area that is small, raised, pink or red, translucent, shiny, and waxy, and the area may bleed following minor injury.  Tumor size can vary from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter.  Nearly 70% of non-melanoma skin cancers are BCC.  More than 2,000,000 new cases for 2012 and less than 1,000 deaths (National Cancer Institute).  

Current estimates are 1 in 5 Americans will develop some type of skin cancer in their lifetime.  It is estimated that 1 in 50 Americans will develop invasive Melanoma in their lifetime.  Melanoma incidence rates have been increasing for at least 30 years, says the American Cancer Society (ACS).  The ACS has this posted on their main skin cancer webpage:
"Slop on sunscreen: Use sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen (about a palmful) and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, toweling dry, or sweating. Use sunscreen even on hazy or overcast days". 

 Wow!  A person would think that the American Cancer Society would know not to highly recommend something (suncreen) that is directly related to causing the most dangerous/deadly form of skin cancer (invasive melanoma).  It is similar to other articles I've published citing multiple studies that show that the sources people count upon to look out for them are simply not doing their job. We are not talking about ignorance - they know the truth and are not telling it to the public.   

Prior to a 2009 study the connection between sun exposure and melanoma was in dispute.   This recent scientific research isolated UV radiation as a deadly culprit behind the development of melanoma, by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute - United Kingdom.  The scientists used new molecular technology and determined that thousands of gene mutations were identified in melanoma lesion cells were caused by UV radiation.   
Prior to the study, the problem was that melanomas often appear in areas of the body that get little, if any, sun.  So the sun exposure correlation was in question, but not any more.  You only need very moderate direct sun exposure, and you should avoid burning or deep tanning.  Tanning ages skin and causes wrinkling. A light tan acquired by just a few minutes of proper sun exposure per day is the safest, healthiest option.

How serious is skin cancer risk?
The fact is relatively very few people die of skin cancer!  It's not a major health risk compared to breast cancer, stomach cancer, brain cancer, bone cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and many other types.

Although, melanoma is a very nasty, and sneaky life-threatening cancer if you do develop it.  This is why millions of people use sunscreen each year.  ABC news reported (May) that 69 percent of the American population wear sunscreen. More women use sunscreen than men.    

Parents of children (age 12 or younger) were no more likely to use sunscreen on themselves than non-parents - even though they were more diligent about putting it on their children.

Those choosing not to wear chemical creams and lotions still have options, but beware of the many so-called natural sunscreens in the health stores.  They commonly have one or more chemicals in the same list of toxic cancer causing chemicals of commercial sunscreens.  Some do not have any of the chemicals on the list provided, but have other toxic and damaging chemicals in the ingredients that are well known to cause problems.  
Dr. Plourde offers these suggestions:

  • Wear clothes that shield your skin, such as tightly woven fabrics. You may not know it, but thin, light fabrics may allow the sun's rays to pass through.

  • Reduce time spent in the sun. Seek shade and be sure to cover up between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  Know that by 5 PM in the summer there's still plenty of sun and you can spend as much time in it as you want with less risk of burning.

  • Consume more healthy antioxidants-foods. Healthy antioxidants will help protect your skin naturally.  Take daily dosages of good omegas 3, 6 and 9 oils,which will help protect your cells (GK).

This information will hopefully encourage you to change some of your habits, and if throwing away your bottles of sunscreen determines whether or not you become a cancer statistic - it is well worth it to throw them away!   I've had every type of skin cancer other than melanoma, and have had kidney cancer.  I'm free now, and I hope that I can help you stay informed that you do not suffer the consequences.
Stay free!

Glenn King   

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