Is Sunscreen Bad for You?


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Although summer is long gone, the sun and its powerful rays are still around and we can at least have something to think about for next summer while lounging on the beach. Even though sunscreen has not been around long enough for us to fully know and understand its longterm effects, there is an ongoing debate as to whether sunscreen is actually good or bad for you. While I would not recommend one of my pale best friend's theories that "you shouldn't wear sunscreen ever because the chemicals are bad for you and in a few years scientists will realize it's killing us instead of helping" as she gets FRIED every time she lays out, I did decide to do some research to try and get to the bottom of this.
According to Arthur Perry, MD, FACS from the Dr. Oz show, sunscreen is in fact harmful to us due to the chemicals in a majority of brands. 15 of the 17 FDA approved chemicals in sunscreen that are used to block out harmful UV rays do not sit on top of the skin but instead seep into the bloodstream when you rub them in. These 15 chemicals are known as "endocrine disruptors" and can cause a variety of issues from infertility to early puberty and abnormal development of fetuses (Perry). Zinc oxide (that white or blue stuff you see on lifeguard's noses sometimes) and titanium dioxide are the two chemicals in sunscreen that are not absorbed into your skin and do not have these harmful affects. Dr. Perry recommends using these two chemicals alone to defend against the sun instead of constantly reapplying toxins. 
On the other side of the argument in an article I read here, the American Academy of Dermatology says otherwise. They say that sunscreen is in fact beneficial and essential in fighting those UV rays. In the article they discuss sunscreen do's and don'ts including trust that your sunscreen works, apply often and make sure you have good coverage, and don't believe the nonsense about harmful chemicals. While studies have shown that using a sunscreen with SPF below 15 is virtually ineffective, so long as you use a sunscreen higher than that it sounds like you should be good. It is recommended to reapply every two hours and use about a shot-glassful of sunscreen to cover your entire body. When it comes to the "harmful," "hormone-disrupting" chemicals in sunscreen, some say the claims cannot be trusted or proved valid because the studies have been conducted on mice. They say "the animals were fed significantly greater amounts of the chemical than what's commonly applied in sunscreen" (Kotz). I guess these chemicals could have similar effects just not as drastic as on the mice because it is a smaller amount that we put on our skin.
So, who do you believe? Are you a sun-loving person who lathers up to protect their skin? Or do you choose to forgo it and put up with the burn (or natural tan) without the use of sunscreen?
Sunscreen-stripes.jpg
Kotz, Deborah. "Is Sunscreen Dangerous? 4 Sun Protection Do's and Don'ts." US News. U.S.News & World Report, 25 May 2010. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.
Perry, MD, FACS, Arthur. "Your Sunscreen Might Be Poisoning You." The Dr. Oz Show. N.p., 07 May 2013. Web. 16 Sept. 2013

1 Comment

Wow, I guess I cannot catch a break in the pale-world that I live in. I try so hard to get tan half of my lifetime because I heard that you'll get tanner without sunscreen, which was always more believable to me... Now that I have learned the dangers of the sun, even though I spent half of my life already fried and lobster-category sunburnt, I always wear sunscreen. Now some sunscreen is potentially bad for you?! I guess I'm meant to be an ugly pale person absorbing harmful chemicals from trying to protect my skin, or a cooked shell-fish with skin cancer. I mean hey, sounds like there's a good chance I'll be negatively effected somehow, mine as well die tanner than pale! I never understood how some sunscreen did make people tanner at times, though. Maybe it is the chemicals inside? Many people struggle with whether to wear sunscreen or not, I think it's better to be infected with possible minor chemicals rather than not using any at all and potentially receiving skin cancer. "PALE IS THE NEW TAN!" http://www.paleisthenewtan.com

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