Malignant Melanoma on the Rise
According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the incidence of malignant melanoma skin cancer has risen faster than any other cancer type since the mid-1950s, increasing by 15 times in the last 40 years in the US.
YOU ARE A VITAMIN D FACTORY
In one of the most unique processes in the body, Vitamin D is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight. We experience this chemical reaction as a sunburn or skin tanning. And, in a really nifty piece of biological engineering, that same Vitamin D produced by the sun's rays absorbs and renders harmless the ultraviolet radiation that would otherwise damage our skin and DNA ...so it’s protecting us from skin cancer.
Some other cool things Vit D does: It plays a major role in protection against other cancers by supporting the production of blood-borne phagocytes that hunt down and destroy cancer cells in the body. Vit D also enables mineralization of bone, thus helping prevent osteoporosis, which is a growing problem in many elderly.
GETTING BURNED BY NOT GETTING BURNED
In the last 50 years or so, people have been slathering their skin with SPF Lotions (Sun Protection Factor) with the idea that they will help prevent skin cancer. And because they’re not getting sunburned, it’s common for people to spend hours many more in the sun.
Here’s the problem: Sunscreens were developed to prevent SUNBURN
...not SKIN CANCER.
Sunscreens are designed to limit direct DNA damage by blocking the UV radiation that causes the skin darkening we see signaling the formation of Vit D. But by blocking the formation of Vitamin D, sunscreens cause indirect DNA damage which then increases the risk of the most lethal form of skin cancer: Malignant Melanoma.
And because they’re not feeling or seeing their skin burning, people using are unwittingly staying exposed to the sun's most lethal rays many hours longer than they normally would without sunscreen.
THIS ISN’T NEW NEWS
Several studies done over decades show conclusive evidence that no protective effect is seen against cancer from sunscreen use. In fact, as hard as it may be to believe, several studies over the years show that using them actually increases skin cancer rates.
Way back in 2007, the Annals of Epidemiology published a study that showed people using sunscreens were one and a half times as likely to get cancer than those who did not. And a 2008 paper published in the British Journal of Dermatology looked at 17 separate studies on the relation of sunscreen use to melanoma risk and found that none prevented cancer, and six studies showed a significant increased risk with use.
On The Skin Cancer Foundation website, you can find that the incidence of many common cancers is falling, but the incidence of melanoma continues to rise significantly, at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers. The British Journal of Dermatology specifically reports that “Vitamin D deficiency from sunblock usage causes 100,000 people to develop cancer each year who wouldn't have, leading to 40,000 deaths per year.”
THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING VITAMIN
Because many young people are sitting indoors in front of computers, then slathering SPF goop on them when they do go outdoors, it shouldn’t surprise you that there’s a HUGE increase in Vit D deficiency in the last 25 years or so. And that has lead to another HUGE rise in osteoporosis. It’s no small thing, because Vit D is no slouch:
NUMBERS DON’T LIE, BUT CORPORATIONS MIGHT
In 1980, an American's lifetime melanoma risk was 1 in 350.
Today, it's 1 in 55.
In 1972 sunscreen sales were $18 million. In 2015, the global sun care market generated $5.6 billion U.S. dollars from its sun protection products segment. But the companies making these products stay mum on the facts.
So I'm recommending NO sunscreen usage, or VERY little. I know this runs contrary to conventional wisdom on this, but conventional wisdom convinced us that margarine was food.
So here's the deal: get outdoors! ...and have some sun-time without any SPF goop so your body can make some good old-fashioned, kick-ass Vit D. But if you're out for any length of time, make sure to cover-up ...as in wear some old-school clothes.
I'm very active outdoors, and so I cover up with hats, gloves, gaiters, and lightweight, long-sleeve shirts when it's for prolonged periods ...like that guy to your right. I like the SPF rated stuff from Columbia, Northface, and other outdoor clothiers.
IF THAT'S NOT ENOUGH: Scientists now believe that the chemicals in many of the most popular sunscreens can cause significant damage to the world's coral reefs. It is estimated that coral reefs are exposed to nearly 14,000 tons of sunscreen every year. As such, many places around the world have begun to ban certain types of sunscreen, including Hawaii and the Florida Keys.
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