Sunscreen Causing Cancer? Dermatologist Dr.Weksberg Explains

Last summer Facebook was all abuzz with an article circulating claiming that “Sunscreens were Cancer Causing Biohazards” due to the chemicals they contained – perhaps this popped up on your news feed and made you wonder, could it be true? Could my SPF be dangerous?

The answer is that it couldn’t’ be further from the truth. The benefits of using sunscreen most definitely outweigh any outside risk. Sunburns are an indication of severe cellular damage — just one or two sunburns before the age of 18 significantly increases the risk of skin cancer later in life.

Most of the controversy revolves around an ingredient called Oxybenzone. Oxybenzone has photo protective qualities and is one of the most widely used organic UVA filters in sunscreens today. Reports on it causing cancer are gross exaggerations of the facts, and are false.

The worry about sunscreen causing cancer comes from a 2006 study of skin grown in a lab. The report suggested that under certain conditions, UV absorbing ingredients found in sunscreens COULD release free radicals, POTENTIALLY causing damage to nearby cells and in THEORY lead to skin cancer. The bottom line is that after decades of use, not one studies proves, or even suggest that Oxybenzone causes cancer.

If you are still worried, then you have the option of using  Chemical Free sunscreens which use Titanium and Zinc as the sun blocking ingredients.

Photo: iStock

DrA recognized leader in cosmetic dermatology with over 27 years experience, Fred Weksberg is Canadian and US Board Certified Dermatologist. He holds staff positions at three hospitals and is part of the Executive for the Canadian Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

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