After offering information about UV light and sun-protective behaviors, two health-ed videos diverge: one describes the increased skin cancer risk of UV exposure and the other describes effects on appearance including wrinkles and premature aging.
Which of these two videos do you think caused teenagers to use more sunscreen six weeks after it was shown? While teens who watched both videos learned and retained the same amount of knowledge about UV light and sun-protective behaviors, only the teens who watched the appearance-based video (and not the health-based video) actually changed these behaviors.
“We see this anecdotally in the clinic. The teens who come in, often it’s because their parents are dragging them. A lot have undergone tanning or never wear sunscreen. You can tell that when we talk about the skin cancer risk, it doesn’t faze them. But when you talk about premature wrinkling and aging, they listen a little more closely,” says April W. Armstrong, MD MPH, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and vice chair of Clinical Research at the CU School of Medicine Department of Dermatology.
The current study aimed to quantify this observation. First, Armstrong and colleagues went to local high schools to recruit 50 subjects. All subjects completed questionnaires demonstrating their baseline knowledge about UV light and use of sun-protective behaviors. Then subjects were randomized into two groups, one of which viewed the health-based video that emphasized skin cancer risk, and the other of which viewed the appearance-based video that emphasized cosmetic changes due to UV exposure. Six weeks later, all subjects again completed questionnaires that showed the knowledge they retained and changes in sun-protective behaviors.
“Interestingly, we didn’t see any difference in teenagers’ knowledge -- no matter if they had watched the health-based or appearance-based video, students learned and retained the same amount of information,” Armstrong says.
However, despite a message of skin cancer risk from UV exposure, the group that had watched the health-based video showed no statistically significant increase in their sun-protective behaviors. Looks like teens are less prone to brain washing than adults are regarding cancer scares.
Yet, tell they're aging and they're the first to get off that wagon. The group that had been shown the appearance-based video reported a dramatic increase in the use of sunscreen.
“For teenagers, telling them UV exposure will lead to skin cancer is not as effective as we would hope. If our endgame is to modify their behavior, we need to tailor our message in the right way and in this case the right way is by highlighting consequences to appearance rather than health,” Armstrong says.
Both the health-based and appearance-based videos are free for educational use and can be found on YouTube.
Thinking that the sun causes skin damage is anagolous to thinking our feet are damaged when we walk barefoot on a beach. Elements of nature have always affected human beings and it's part of us roaming on this planet we call Earth. The scare tactics used to instill fear in the last 50 years have been not short of ludicrous regarding the sun's rays, and as usual, follow the money.
A Tale of Corruption and Deception
The sunscreen industry makes money by selling lotion products that actually contain cancer-causing chemicals. It then donates a portion of that money to the cancer industry through non-profit groups like Cancer Societies which, in turn, run heart-breaking public service ads and charity events such as Relay For Life urging people to donate and use sunscreen to "prevent cancer."
The cancer establishment has retreated from the truth. What began as sincere investigation into the economic root causes of a complex set of 200 different diseases, at the turn of the 20th century, quickly degenerated into a single-minded focus. All cancer societies are now dedicated to funding drug companies to "find the cure" that will never exist, at least not from any mainstream institution.
Devra Davis, one of North America's sharpest epidemiologists "Astonishing alliances between naive or far too clever academics and folks with major economic interests in selling potentially cancerous materials have kept us from figuring out whether or not many modern products affect our chances of developing cancer." She has documented how some of the world's most prominent cancer researchers secretly worked for chemical firms without disclosing these ties when publishing studies.
Davis' work will rob you of any lingering, Disney-like fantasies you might have entertained about the nobility of cancer fundraising campaigns actually doing some good the cancer patients. Please DON'T support American or Canadian Cancer Societies or Relays For Life.
Many grants funding cancer research are supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Melanoma Research Foundation. The NCI is the same federally funded (and privately funded by Big Pharma) organization that promotes mammography via ionizing radiation. In fact they are one of the biggest mammography promoters in the nation. They are directly managed by the biotech sector and typically employ pharmaceutical executives on their boards.
The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is filled with scientific advisory members with conflicts interests statements littering their academic work. The decision makers at MRF are all current or former pharmaceutical executives or board members.
Why Sunscreen Will Never Prevent Cancer And May Cause It
The Sun does not cause cancer. Researchers have concluded that UVA exposure has not contributed to the rise in the incidence of melanoma over the past 30 years. UVA makes up 90 percent of the ultraviolet light spectrum of sunlight.
"Our data refute the only direct evidence that UVA causes melanoma, which is not to say that UVA is harmless," said the study's lead author David Mitchell, Ph.D., professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Carcinogenesis located at its Science Park -- Research Division in Smithville, Texas. "UVA is just not as dangerous as we thought because it doesn't cause melanoma."
Both UVA and UVB can cause tanning and burning, although UVB does so far more rapidly. UVA, however, penetrates your skin more deeply than UVB.
UVB appears to be protective against melanoma -- or rather, the vitamin D your body produces in response to UVB radiation is protective.
As written in The Lancet:
"Paradoxically, outdoor workers have a decreased risk of melanoma compared with indoor workers, suggesting that chronic sunlight exposure can have a protective effect."
So if UVA and UVB do not cause melanoma, why use sunscreen?
Skin cancer rates are increasing and the so-called experts are STILL blaming the sun for a problem manufactured right here on earth.
If the sun was REALLY causing skin cancer, and if sunscreen prevented it, we’d be cancer-free by now. We’re already spending less time outside than ever, and wasting billions of dollars a year on needless, dangerous creams and lotions.
Meanwhile, just a couple of generations ago, we spent far more time out in the sun and ZILCH on sunscreen -- and skin cancer was practically unheard of.
After decades of debate, several governments have failed to set mandatory sunscreen safety standards. Companies are free to make their own decisions on everything from advertising claims to product quality. The underlying message is that sunscreen applications are presently carrying risks that far outweigh any benefit to the public.
Comprehensive scientific reviews indicate that 83% of 785 sunscreen products contain ingredients with significant safety concerns. Only 17% of the products on the market block both UVA and UVB radiation which is the intended purpose by manufacturers of sunscreen, so what's the point? The assessment by the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database was based on a review of nearly 400 scientific studies, industry models of sunscreen efficacy, and toxicity and regulatory information housed in nearly 60 government, academic, and industry databases.
At least 50% of products on the market bear claims that are considered "unacceptable" or misleading under sunscreen safety standards. An analysis of marketing claims on hundreds of sunscreen bottles shows that false and misleading marketing claims are common. They give consumers a false sense of security (based on myths) with claims like "all day protection," "mild as water," and "blocks all harmful rays" which are completely untrue, yet are found on bottles. Consumers might assume that, because researchers have implicated ultraviolet light in skin cancer development, sunscreen automatically thwarts skin cancer. They play on this consumer bandwagon of fear and hope on an issue shouldn't even be an issue...blocking the sun!
A review of the technical literature shows that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some are linked to toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like estrogen and could disrupt hormone systems, several are strongly linked to allergic reactions, and still others may build up in the body or the environment.
Almost two dozen law suits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson Inc., Schering-Plough Corp., Playtex Products Inc., Tanning Research Laboratories Inc. and Chattem Inc involving some of the most popular brands, including Coppertone, Banana Boat, Hawaiian Tropic, Bullfrog and Neutrogena -- charge that manufacturers inflate claims about sunscreens, lulling consumers into believing their products are safe when they have shown to CAUSE cancer.
Almost half of the 500 most popular sunscreen products may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A or its derivatives retinol and retinyl palmitate which accelerate tumor growth.
In a year-long study, tumors and lesions developed up to 21 percent faster in lab animals coated in a vitamin A-laced cream than animals treated with a vitamin-free cream, a report by EWG stated based on their analysis of initial findings released by the FDA and the National Toxicology Program,
Based on the strength of the findings by FDA's own scientists, many in the public health community say they can't believe nor understand why the agency hasn't already notified the public of the possible danger.
Scientists have reported that particle size affects the toxicity of zinc oxide, a material widely used in sunscreens. Particles smaller than 100 nanometers are slightly more toxic to colon cells than conventional zinc oxide. Solid zinc oxide was more toxic than equivalent amounts of soluble zinc, and direct particle to cell contact was required to cause cell death. Their study is in ACS' Chemical Research in Toxicology, a monthly journal.
The Environmental Working Group who previously analyzed 15 studies on nanoparticles on sunscreen said that no investigations have ever assessed absorption through damaged skin. Such data is missing “for nearly all of the 17 sunscreen chemicals approved for use in the U.S.” The scientists note that a concern is children accidentally ingesting nano-sized zinc oxide.
Another common and toxic ingredient in sunscreens is titanium dioxide. New research published in ACS' journal, Environmental Science & Technology found that Children may be receiving the highest exposure to nanoparticles of titanium dioxide. The geometry of titanium dioxide (TiO2) based nanofilaments appears to play a crucial role in cytotoxicity having a strong dose-dependent effect on cell proliferation and cell death.
A comprehensive study conducted by researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer found that titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles, found in everything from cosmetics to sunscreen to paint to vitamins, caused systemic genetic damage in mice. The TiO2 nanoparticles induced single- and double-strand DNA breaks and also caused chromosomal damage as well as inflammation, all of which increase the risk for cancer.
Vitamin D From The Sun is The Key In Preventing Disease
The scientific evidence, however, shows quite clearly that sunscreen actually promotes cancer by blocking the body's absorption of ultraviolet radiation, which produces vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D, as recent studies have shown, prevents up to 77 of ALL cancers in women (breast cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, brain tumors, multiple myeloma, etc). Meanwhile, the toxic chemical ingredients used in most sunscreen products are actually carcinogenic and have never been safety tested. They get absorbed right through the skin (a porous organ that absorbs most substances it comes into contact with) and enter the bloodstream.
For the past several years, there has been considerable interest in the role vitamin D plays in improving health and preventing disease. Previous finding show that low levels of vitamin D have been directly associated with various forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Stephen B. Kritchevsky, PhD, Professor of Internal Medicine and Transitional Science at the Wake Forest School of Medicine found a significant correlation.
"We observed vitamin D insufficiency (defined as blood levels <20 ng/ml), in one third of our study participants. This was associated with nearly a 50 percent increase in the mortality rate in older adults," said Kritchevsky. "Our findings suggest that low levels of vitamin D may be a substantial public health concern for our nation's older adults."
Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., cancer prevention specialist at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and colleagues estimate that 250,000 cases of colorectal cancer and 350,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented worldwide by increasing intake of vitamin D3, particularly in countries north of the equator. "For the first time, we are saying that 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancer could be prevented each year worldwide, including nearly 150,000 in the United States alone," said Garland.
Although vitamin D can be obtained from limited dietary sources and directly from exposure to the sun during the spring and summer months, the combination of poor dietary intake and sun avoidance has created vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency in large proportions of many populations worldwide.
It is known that vitamin D has a wide range of physiological effects and that correlations exist between insufficient amounts of vitamin D and an increased incidence of a number of cancers. These correlations are particularly strong for cancers of the digestive tract, including colon cancer, and certain forms of leukemia.
Spending an average of three hours a day exposed to sunlight can slash the risk of breast cancer by up to 50 percent.
People with higher blood levels of vitamin D live significantly longer than people who have low blood levels of the vitamin.
A new study from University College London in the UK found that people with higher vitamin D levels had a 43% lower risk of depression, compared to people with vitamin D lower levels.
Results published in Clinical Nutrition also indicated that the higher vitamin D levels were associated with a 67% lower risk of panic, compared to the lower levels.
"The high burden of mental and behavioral disorders and concurrent high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency (<75nmol/l) worldwide (29) highlight the potential importance of our findings," wrote the researchers, led by Jane Maddock from the UCL Institute of Child Health.
People with the highest levels of vitamin D have the lowest risk of skin cancer. Sure, you can get some of that from a pill...but historically, most people have gotten their D straight from the source: the sun, and protecting yourself from it 100 years ago with clothing, cream or anything would likely have been viewed as its own mental health disorder.
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.