With summertime right around the corner, frolicking in the sun is usually the first thing on everyone’s mind, especially for those children who were just let out of school and the parents who are on vacation.
However, along with the need to be outside comes the need for sunblock so you can lower your chances and stay safe from skin cancer. Skin cancer is, to date, the most common form of cancer in the US.
According to the CDC, in 2006, more than 53,919 people were diagnosed with malignant form of it and 8,441 people died from untreatable or advanced forms of skin cancer.
Protection for your Skin
However, that one product everyone uses might have an ingredient in it that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the FDA state studies have shown to cause the acceleration of those people’s chances of contracting the disease, instead of fighting it.
Sunblock using the Vitamin A and its derivatives called Retinol and retinyl, showed to speed up the cell mutations that start the cancer forming in the skin, according to these studies. These ingredients are added to many brands of sunscreen in hopes of warding off wrinkles and they are known to work for that purpose.
How it Happens
What happens is that manufacturers add the Vitamin A ingredients in the hopes of gaining a double benefit from them, keep the harmful UVA and UVB rays out while battling wrinkles at the same time. However, the Retinol makes skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays, making the tanning effect more pronounced.
The only thing that tanning does is cause a chemical change in the melatonin in the skin, which is essentially “cooking” the skin cells. The Vitamin A makes it happen faster which in turn is speeding up the mutations that cause cancer to form.
Take Heed: Wear Sunscreen Anyway!
However, it is noted that while these effects can happen, it is only attributed to those sunscreens using the Vitamin A compounds.
People should still use sunscreen, according to dermatologist Dr. Howard Brook, but forgo the anti-aging effects and buy a product without the Vitamin A, Retinol or retinyl added. Protection from the sun is much more important than protection from wrinkles any day.