How important is sunscreen, and should you be worried about some of the extreme stuff you read on the internet about its potential dangers? Time Magazine recently delved into these topics, and it’s a lot more complicated than you may have realized.
There are actually two different types of sun blockers: first, the physical kind that literally block or scatter the sun’s rays, and second, the chemical kind that chemically prevent damage from the sun’s rays. The main concern seems to relate to the latter chemical kind, but the only studies that have shown any concerning findings have been when rats were actually injected with a lot of the chemicals – which is a far cry from the minimal and external application that humans are told to follow.
Should you be worried? Time spoke with Dr. Henry W. Lim, chairman of the Dermatology Department at Henry Ford Health System. He summarized that there simply isn’t very much hard data showing that applying chemical sunscreens to your skin can lead to health problems. In contrast, the risks of NOT wearing sunscreen are very well proven and quite concerning: one third of all cancers diagnosed world-wide are skin cancer and up to 95% of malignant melanomas are caused by excessive sun damage. Further, there is amble proof that sunscreen lowers these risks.
Dr. Lim further posed that the greatest risk of sunscreen might actually be that it gives a false sense of security – many people believe they are “good to go” after putting on some sunscreen, without using nearly enough to adequately protect themselves, and then not applying it often enough, especially after sweating or swimming.
If you’d like to learn more, check out the article from Time Magazine: You Asked Is Sunscreen Safe and Do I Really Need It
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