The incidence of skin cancer of all kinds has recently increased around the world, particularly (Melanoma) which is one of the most deadly skin cancers, although still less prevalent than other skin cancers.
In the United States alone, skin cancer rates have increased by 77 percent over the past two decades.
The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to ULTRAVIOLET radiation. Scientists agree that the most effective way to prevent it is to develop sunscreens.
Richard Wheeler, a consultant dermatologist at the University of Edinburgh, says: “At the outset, we must confirm that there is strong evidence that sunscreens protect against skin cancer.”
The incidence of skin cancer may have declined in some countries, particularly in countries where awareness of the importance of the use of sunscreens has increased, although in others they have increased.
Adele Green, director of the Cancer and Population Study Group at The Bergover Medical Research Centre in Queensland, Australia, says skin cancer rates are higher among the older generation, due to damage caused by direct exposure to sunlight for decades.
However, some studies have highlighted the potential effects of active substances involved in the formulation of sunscreens, and have suggested that some of these substances may harm our health.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed 14 of the chemical agents involved in the formulation of sunscreens unsafe and ineffective.
Sunscreens contain active substances that form a barrier of ULTRAVIOLET radiation called UV filters. There are two types of UV filters, the most common of which are organic or chemical filters, which absorb UV rays and turn them into safer radiation. While inorganic UV filters, which are safer, such as Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide, reflect UV rays and disperse them away from the skin.
It is known that some organic filters are absorbed by the skin and enter the bloodstream, and this is not fearless as long as the substances are safe. However, some studies have focused on the possible side effects of Oxybenzone, most commonly used in sunscreens.
In its report, the food and drug Administration noted that the consequences of using large amounts of sunscreen are not yet known. Studies in mice have concluded that some organic UV filters, such as Oxybenzone, as well as Parabens and Phthalates, are suspected to cause endocrine disorder, i.e. they affect our hormones.
It was noted that the use of large amounts of Phthalate sought to inhibit the growth of male genitalia, which could lead to other problems in later life, such as low sperm count or a higher risk of testicular cancer.
Phthalates are not limited to sunscreens, but also incorporate many cosmetics, such as soaps, shampoos, nail polish, and hair sprays, and Parabens are involved in the installation of many hair care and cosmetics.
Laura Vandenberg, an assistant professor at the Amherst School of Health and Public Health at the University of Massachusetts, discovered that Oxybenzone may affect the size of the mammalian glands of mice, and traces of the substance have been found in breast milk, indicating that it may also be present in breast tissue, which may affect its growth, functions and his health.
However, some say that the side effects of sunscreen scare on mice only appear after large amounts of preparations are developed that humans do not normally use.
In 2011, for example, researchers concluded that mixing oxybenzone with the food of young mice caused their uterus to grow by 23 percent. However, they stated that the amount of oxybenzone taken by mice in this study could enter a woman’s body if she used sunscreen daily for 34 to 277 years.
Another 2015 study of 500 husbands and wives trying to have children found that high rates of Benzophenone, which protects against UV radiation in urine analysis, reduced male reproductive chances by 30 percent.
Sunscreens and their effect on Vitamin D formation:
Some raised other questions about the impact of sunscreen on the body’s vitamin D process. The main source of vitamin D is sun exposure, and some believe that sunscreens may be the cause of the spread of vitamin D deficiency.
Rachel Neil, an assistant professor at the Bergover Institute for Medical Research in Queensland, says sun protection products do not affect vitamin D levels in the body, because the lengths of UV waves that cause burns are different from those from which the body derives vitamin D.
For adequate amounts of vitamin D, Nell advises residents of areas with bright sunshine throughout the year to apply daily sun protection products.
Wheeler also notes that these concerns about the effect of sunscreen on vitamin D production are exaggerated because most people do not use sunscreen the right way. Doctors recommend applying two milligrams per square centimeter, equivalent to about six teaspoons.
However, there are other benefits to sun exposure that may be obscured by sun protection products, although this does not eliminate the risk of skin cancer, including that UV radiation induces the body to produce an nitric oxide molecule that contributes to the expansion of blood vessels and lowering blood pressure.
Wheeler says much evidence suggests that nitric oxide reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is more important than preventing skin cancer.
According to Wheeler, cardiovascular mortality rates are higher than those of skin cancer. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of death worldwide. The recovery rate from chromosomal cell cancer is estimated at 92 percent, and skin cancer rarely leads to death.
Some attribute the high incidence of skin cancer to the fact that sun protection products encourage us to stay in the sun for longer periods.
David Leville, a professor of dermatology and surgery at Yale University School of Medicine, says that most people with skin cancer he spoke to were exposed to sunlight for long periods without reapplying sun protection products from time to time, knowing that the effect of chemicals ends after a certain period.
The effect of sunscreens on marine animals:
However, the impact of sun protection products not only depends on human health, but dozens of studies have indicated that UV-blocking substances also threaten marine life. Researchers have found traces of chemicals that block ULTRAVIOLET radiation in seabird eggs, seas, and rivers at high enough to damage fish, corals and marine mammals.
Scientists noted that the most toxic substance in sun protection products is oxybenzone, which is why some environmental resorts in Mexico have imposed on visitors to use biodegradable sunscreens.
“Chemicals like oxybenzone can cause hormonal disorders, alter fish’s sex, affect their growth and fertility, and impair their ability to produce eggs,” says Cheryl Woodley, a researcher with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
It adds that polluting the environment with chemicals used in the installation of sun protection products may impair our resilience to environmental changes and may lead to the extinction of some marine organisms due to increased risk of infertility.
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