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Sunscreen is a Scam

Commercial sunscreens are promoted as the universal solution to sunburn, but our bodies produce much better protection, naturally, and for free. By producing melanin as a reaction to ultraviolet light, our skin adapts to sun exposure. While sunscreens use particles of metal oxides to reflect light away from the skin, melanin allows the skin to absorb vitamin D and the other healthful benefits of sunlight.

Sunscreens are an overreaction to an occasional sunburn. The smarter, healthier, and cheaper alternative is to gradually increase the duration of skin exposure to direct sunlight, building a layer of melanin, “the substance present in the skin that produces pigment,” says Medical News Today in an article titled “What to Know about Melanin.” As the skin tans, says the article, it provides its own “protection for the eyes and skin from sunlight.” Skin can adapt to the sun’s exposure and produce its own strategy to fight against the sun’s rays. The combination of sunscreen, your skin’s reactions, and the way your immune system works must be understood correctly to be able to keep your skin as healthy and as strong as possible.

The immune system is forever adapting. The Australian Academy of Science created a simple video that explains how the immune system fights off viruses. The video shows the process of the immune system in action. When a bacteria is introduced in the body, your immune system will immediately respond by sending in “guard cells” to intervene. They can often kill foreign bacteria at the same time causing noticeable inflammation in the process, possibly in the form of swelling. If this method will not stop the problem, “the brain of the immune system” is introduced, a cell that will collect information from the foreign bacteria and decide what to do with it to eliminate it. “The brain cell” will recruit a “helper cell” that is genetically designed for this certain bacteria. The “helper cell” is inevitably activated by the “brain cell”, which will multiply and join the fight while simultaneously sending back valuable information back to a “B cell”. The “B cell” then creates antibodies that flood the body and destroy the foreign bacteria using its own identity. The immune systems process for bacteria directly relates to how the body works against any harm introduced to the body. In relation to the skin’s reaction, the sun’s harmful UV rays can play the role of the foreign bacteria. The rays contact the skin which then the immune system will send the initial line of defence to stop it, causing inflammation, such as sunburn. But, while this happens, the immune system then collects all the information it needs from the opposition to form a line of defence, Melanin. Melanin is to sunscreen like antibodies are to viruses. When this process happens again the skin, beings that it is familiar to this act, will react accordingly. The more instances this happens your body becomes more knowledgeable on the matter continuing it’s search to find the best possible method to stop any harm at all.

Sunscreen is a cosmetic that acts as a shield of armor for your skin, concerningly allowing no sun-to-skin contact.  Melanin, the body’s known choice of defense, is produced when your skin does contact with sunlight. Melanin is the skin’s natural defence against the sun’s harmful rays. The immune system will collect information from the harmfulness of the sun’s ray, then create a defense method to battle the opposition. The immune system will grow stronger as it encounters these rays more often and ultimately stopping it in its tracks.With all these variables understood and considered we can begin to devise a plan on what to do when in contact with the sun that will keep our skin safe and strong.  

Proper immune system health can give a much stronger chance to battle any type of disease or unhealthy attack. This premise can be applied to the skin vs. sun. Sunscreen, thought to be the best protection for some of the sun’s harmful UV rays, does not allow the skin to fight its own battles and gain the healthy rays from the sun. Therefore, sunscreen will leave the skin weaker when in the sun without sunscreen. This creates a dependency on sunscreen because the negative reaction will become worse as you continue to weaken the skin. Since the skin becomes “out of practice,” it adapts to wearing sunscreen in the sun, and will be devastatingly vulnerable when there is a lapse in routine. Our skin can be naturally trained to combat the harmful effects of unprotected sun exposure.

Building a strong immune system is important to maintaining the body’s overall health for the long term. The University of Maryland Health Systems made a post on how to boost the immune system. The article recommends healthy living habits like regular exercise and a healthy diet. In addition to a strong living strategy, supplements like vitamins and probiotics, all listed in UMD’s article, will boost the immune system making it stronger rather than using certain medicine to replace the immune systems function. This is the best way to prepare the body for any type of personal health crisis. Probiotics and vitamins act as “personal trainers.” They feed the body and micro exercise it in a way. This is not the can in medications which will replace the immune system’s function, in turn allowing it to grow weak. Similar to someone going to the gym to work out on your behalf while you sit at home.

Another way the immune system can become strong is through experience. Just like any physical sport, to improve as a player one must practice and train the body. Practicing creates a muscle memory that is ready to perform when the opportunity arises. Of course through practice and training, in the beginning, the body will be sore and achy, but when continuing to train, the body will adapt and strengthen, ridding the body of the soreness. This sports example directly relates to the way an human immune system works. When someone grows sick via a virus, the immune system will learn about that virus and practice different methods of fighting it. Once health is improved, it’s understood that the immune system has found an effective battle technique that’ll keep that training experience in mind for whenever the virus may try to reappear. Sharon Reynolds, writer of Lasting Immunity found after recovery from Covid-19, has proven this theory in her study of Covid-19 immunity. In the article, she explains that people who have been infected and recovered from Covid-19 show high levels of immunity through antibodies from the virus in the following months. Reynolds says, “After people recover from infection with a virus, the immune system retains a memory of it. Immune cells and proteins that circulate in the body can recognize and kill the pathogen if it’s encountered again, protecting against disease and reducing illness severity.” 

When the skin experiences the sun’s rays, Melanin is produced. Melanin, which is what pigments skin, is the skin’s natural protection against the sun’s harmful rays. In an article by Heather L. Brannon called How Melanocytes Defend Your Skin Against UV Rays, she says, “Melanin protects the skin by shielding it from the sun. When the skin is exposed to the sun, melanin production increases, which is what produces a tan. It’s the body’s natural defense mechanism against sunburn.” Through the skin’s first couple experiences of this, it may experience some inflammation, or sunburn. However, if you continue to allow your skin to practice and train against the sun’s rays you will grow tanner and build an immunity against it, creating strong and healthy skin. 

Sunscreen does not allow the skin to absorb the benefits of the sun. Kellie Brambet, writer of How does sunscreen work, explains the types of sunscreens. Physical Blockers are ground particles that lay on the skin and reflect the UV rays from the sun away. Chemical Absorbers are thin layers on the skin that will absorb the UV rays before reaching any skin. These are most often used together, therefore it is hard to individually argue each one. Both of these types of sunscreen create an artificial shield over the skin, blocking the contact between skin and the sun. This leads to the lack of Melanin produced from the body. Basically, in sports terms, you are sending someone out to practice and train for you while you sit at home doing nothing. When it comes to playing the game you have zero exposure to what you are supposed to be doing which will obviously result in a negative experience. So while the sunscreen that’s been applied blocking the skin from the experience and practice the skin is growing weak and unhealthy. 

A strong immune system protects from many things including the sun. The harmful effects of prolonged sun exposure, such as skin cancer, sunburn, and others, can be resisted if not terminated through the body’s natural immune system process. This idea not only renders sunscreen useless, it also makes it an opponent to the health of the skin. The skin, as well as the rest of the body, should fight the battles it will have against the sun’s harmful rays. Through this fight, skin will adapt to react in different ways to win the battle, creating strong, healthy skin. 

There are many doctors and scientists who believe sunscreen is helpful. They have recorded studies on how sunscreen prevents sunburn. In addition, the corporations selling this product market sunscreen as the best form of protection. Why wouldn’t anyone use it? These can mislead anyone into believing that sunscreen must be used and is the only thing to prevent sunburn. The belief that being completely blocked from the sun is somehow the healthiest form of sun protection is absolutely absurd. They are looking at it all wrong. The sun’s rays, harmful and beneficial, should be absorbed in order to reap the benefits and build strong, healthy skin. 

According to Forbes Business Insight, the sunscreen market is worth over $13 billion. These big businesses will continue to market their products to make it seem like the only option to prevent sunburn. They will go through lots of time and money to advertise the effects of their product just like any other company would. In addition, doctors are not prohibited from giving paid endorsements, via the American Medical Association. The doctor often execute this right, getting paid tons of money to endorse a product. It’s very difficult to trust something anyone says if you know that they are getting paid to do so. 

The common view on why sunscreen is good for you, is that sunscreen lays on the surface of the skin blocking all the sun’s harmful rays. This is illustrated in an article by Yale Scientific, “Sunscreen works by blocking and absorbing UV rays through a combination of physical and chemical particles. Physical particles, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are used to reflect UV radiation from the skin.” The chemical absorbers and physical blockers are used in compounds to create a shield to ensure that sun rays do not contact your skin. However, this is just not the way to look at it. You should want to naturally fight the harmful rays of the sun whilst absorbing the beneficial rays constructing stronger, healthier skin. Not wearing sunscreen or any type of cosmetic skin protection will invoke your skin to adapt to the sun’s rays. This will force your skin to use the immune system’s process of battling foreign entities. As we know, the end of the immune system process always ends in a beneficial, long lasting solution.

There seems to be a discrepancy to the belief that sunscreen prevents skin cancer. Many people, including scientist and doctors, suggest that it does prevent cancer. An article by the Skin Cancer Foundation states, “When used as directed, sunscreen is proven to: Decrease your risk of skin cancers and skin precancers.” To express the discrepancy, you must understand some data in the history of sunscreen and sun cancer. The history of sunscreen is illustrated in an article by the New York Times called, “Sunscreen: A History,” containing a timeline of all the major events that lead to the sunscreen being used today. In the mid 1940s, the first form of sunscreen was introduced. It was being developed and refined till 1988, when the Food and Drug Administration had elected to approve the product for use. At this time, the use of sunscreen became popular. Only two years later, in 1992, according to the National Cancer Institute, the skin cancer rates were at about 14 out of 100,00 people. Since then, the cancer rates have been on a steady upward slope, now in 2019, 23 out of 100,000 persons are diagnosed with skin cancer. This is a devastating 64% increase. How is sunscreen preventing skin cancer when, since it started to be widely used, the rates have only increased? If sunscreen was effective in preventing skin cancer then we would see a decline in skin cancer diagnosis since its beginning of use. Obviously that is not the case.

Some may argue that the cancer rates have increased due to misuse of sunscreen. Which is a fair argument. The Skin Cancer Foundation proves the misuse, “To get the full broad-spectrum protection out of your sunscreen, apply one ounce — about a shot glass full — to your entire body. Most people apply less than half of that amount, translating into reduced protection.” Whilst another post on the same website by, Elizabeth K. Hale, an expert in the field resures, “Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen, which is why undesirable sunburns and tanning can occur despite sunscreen application.” The failure to apply sunscreen correctly is obviously common. Considering that if a majority of people don’t use the amount of sunscreen for the product to be properly effective, that renders the product ineffective. In the British Journal of Dermatology, a reviewed article states, “if the majority of consumers do not use the product in accordance with the recommendation, then this is a technical inadequacy in itself. Low cosmetic acceptance and the high costs of sunscreen products may result in insufficient use.” 

There a many strategies to stay protected from the sun, luckily, the best form of protection for sun exposure is free and simple. Do nothing, allow the body’s natural ability as a living thing to adapt to its environment. Of course if you use sunscreen properly every single time you step foot outside, you’ll be ok. However, if at anytime you lapse in this routine the consequences will be like no other. If you allow for 1-2 minor sunburns you can be free of any inconveniences and have strong healthy skin to show for it.

The arguments in favor of sunscreen products effectiveness and protection have multiple underlying problems. Companies, with recruitment of doctors and scientists, will continue to assure that those problems stay underlying. The multi-billion dollar sunscreen industry markets their products through paid doctor endorsements and misleading advertising, which should be marked untrustworthy and suspicious. They will to refuse to acknowledge the immune system’s process to counteract foreign entities because, of course, the sales of their product would drop. Allowing your skin to adapt to the sun’s rays will in turn create stronger, healthier skin that will carry on consuming the beneficial sun rays. In addition, the belief that sunscreen prevents cancer is odd, knowing that ever since it became widely used skin cancer rates have steadily increased.

References

Chris.warren@science.org.au. (2016, September 7). The immune system explained. Curious. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://www.science.org.au/curious/video/immune-system-explained

Waxman, E. (2018, July 18). Feel the burn? explaining the science of Sunscreen. UChicago Medicine. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/health-and-wellness-articles/explaining-the-science-of-sunscreen

How does melanin protect the skin? melanin skin and the melanin function. BloqUV. (2019, September 16). Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://www.bloquv.com/blog/how-does-melanin-protect-the-skin-melanin-skin-and-the-melanin-function/

Nall, R. (2019, April 1). What are the benefits of sunlight? Healthline. Retrieved December 1, 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight#_noHeaderPrefixedContent

MD Anderson Cancer Center, & Bramlet, K. (2020, February 4). How does sunscreen work? MD Anderson Cancer Center. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/how-sunscreen-works.h27Z1590624.html.

Boost the immune system. University of Maryland Medical System. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2021, from https://www.umms.org/coronavirus/what-to-know/managing-medical-conditions/healthy-habits/boost-immune-system.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, February 11). Lasting immunity found after recovery from covid-19. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/lasting-immunity-found-after-recovery-covid-19. 

Heather L. Brannon, M. D. (2019, June 19). How melanocytes defend your skin against UV rays. Verywell Health. Retrieved October 26, 2021, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-melanocyte-1069513.

Sun Care Products Market Size, share & covid-19 impact analysis, by product type (sun-protection, after-sun, and tanning), form (lotion, Spray, Stick, and others), SPF (0-29, 30-50, and >50), distribution channel, and Regional Forecast, 2020-2027. Sun Care Products Market Size, Share | Industry Report, 2020-2027. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2021, from https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/sun-care-products-market-103821

Isguven, S. (2012, May 9). How does sunscreen protect you? cropped-YSM-Wordmark-Only-Black-High-Res.png. Retrieved November 16, 2021, from shorturl.at/bctGR

Sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation. (2021, May 28). Retrieved November 16, 2021, from https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/ 

The New York Times. (2010, June 23). Sunscreen: A history. The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/fashion/24skinside.html 

Melanoma of the skin – cancer stat facts. SEER. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2021, from https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/melan.html

Ask the expert: How much sunscreen should I be using on my face and body? The Skin Cancer Foundation. (2020, December 2). Retrieved November 16, 2021, from https://www.skincancer.org/blog/ask-the-expert-how-much-sunscreen-should-i-be-using-on-my-face-and-body/ 

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