We Are Sunshine

Comedian laughs at the irony: Could sunscreen usage be causing skin cancer?

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

“I’m glad sunscreen has been shown to be associated with more skin cancer rather than less. It’s not in the mainstream media yet, but the biggest jump in skin cancer has occurred since the advent of sunscreens. …I love it when ‘reasoning’ human beings think they have figured out how to beat something and it comes right back to kick them….God bless the law of unintended consequences.”

2009-01-28-quote-of-the-weak-tanningnews-copy.jpg— The late comedian George Carlin, from his book “Braindroppings”

Carlin is joking, but part of his point deserves further consideration. Sunscreen usage has a sorted history. Even though it prevents sunburn, the substances in most sunscreens are not above scrutiny. PABA-based sunscreens were removed from the market years ago when it was determined that PABA itself was carcinogenic. And the main active ingredient in today’s sunscreens, oxybenzone, has come under recent scrutiny as government research indicates traces of oxybenzone are now in virtually everyone’s blood stream.

Smart Tan has always supported sunscreen as a product designed only to prevent sunburn on occasions when sunburn is a possibility — not as a daily use product as is now being promoted by the multibillion-dollar sunscreen and dermatology industries. But we respect those who have chosen not to ever use sunscreens because, in their minds, more needs to be known about the chemicals in them and what happens to those chemicals when UV light breaks them down in your skin. As long as you can prevent sunburn, more power to you.

The fact is sunscreen promoters are painting themselves into a dark hole — hanging on to the scientifically dismissed old-school thinking that every UV light photon needs to be avoided. That causes vitamin D deficiency, and the health consequences of D deficiency are now well-known.

Maybe that’s why even the fair-skinned Carlin — never exactly a sun lover himself — called his rant “Shine On.”