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The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its 2022 annual Guide to Sunscreens, which found that 75 percent of more than 1,850 sunscreen products evaluated either offered poor skin protection from the sun, or contain ingredients that may harm your health or increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun’s harmful rays, Only 25 percent of the products met EWG's standards for adequate protection and did not contain harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone that is an endocrine disrupter.
Sunscreens help to prevent sunburns and skin cancers because they actually block the ultraviolet rays of the sun that damage the skin. However, some sunscreens are safe, while others may not be safe.
Sunscreens offer only partial protection from the sun. It is dangerous to expose large areas of your sun screen-coated skin to sunlight. If you want to really protect your skin from sun damage, get under a roof when the sun is out in full force. Clothes are next best, and sunscreens are a poor third.
We do not know how safe sunscreens are because they have never been tested systematically. Oxybenzone in sunscreens has been shown to be absorbed into the bloodstream in humans, and to disrupt hormones in animals. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide appear to be safe, except that manufacturers often convert them to nanoparticles that can be inhaled.
Almost all skin cancers are caused by repeated damage to the DNA in skin cells from excessive exposure to sunlight. Every cell in your body is programmed to live for a limited time and then die. This is called apoptosis. For example, red blood cells live for only around 120 days and then die. A new skin cell starts on the inner bottom layer of your skin and then progressively moves to the outside, where it is sloughed off as dander or dandruff at about 28 days.
Lack of vitamin D can cause weak bones that break easily, bone pain, and muscle weakness, and may increase risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, nerve damage and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis. However, taking very high doses (>3000 IU/day) of vitamin D can harm you.
At last, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing new rules on sunscreen safety. Finalizing these rules and actually making changes on the regulation or labeling of sunscreens will take time, so I advise you to follow their recommendations now by reading the labels and avoiding those products with ingredients that are unlikely to be safe or may be found unsafe. Here are the proposed rules.
For many years I have offered my opinion that sunlight provides benefits that are not gained just from taking vitamin D pills. Recent research is confirming that opinion, and many scientists now believe that low vitamin D blood levels are only a marker for not getting enough sunlight.
There are no pills or capsules that you can take to prevent the sun from damaging your skin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to several companies illegally marketing and selling pills claiming to prevent skin damage from sunlight.