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Sun Tan, Melanoma, Sunscreen, and Science

Posted Apr 18 2010 10:55am

I would have to assume that like me you are one of those people that thought there was a huge amount of science saying that if we used sunscreen that we are protecting ourselves from melanoma.  However, the science suggest otherwise.  The dermatologists have been used over the last fifty years to help develop this belief as they have believed this from their own education.  However, consider this statement made by Edward Gorham, PhD during a presentation on sunscreen and melanoma.  “Sunscreen has changed our ancient relationship between our skin and the sun.”  Unfortunately this change has not been for the better.

To date there has been no control study to show that sunscreen reduces the amount of melanoma in the population.  It has been just the opposite.  In the US as a whole melanoma has increased by a factor of four in the population since the 1960’s and in some northern European countries by a factor of ten.  So what is the deal?  Epidemiological studies show that melanoma is made worse by using sunscreen more than 2 to 1 and the studies that show a reduction in melanoma are usually close to the equator where the skin pigmentation is darker.

I had originally interpreted Gorham’s data on melanoma across the world as solely a use of sunscreen, but it is also predicted (by 30%) by the thickness of the ozone layers across various areas of the world.  I had thought that the lower levels of melanoma in Argentina which is approximately the same latitude as Australia was a result of solely the promotion of sunscreen in Australia.  However, in looking at the ozone thickness we can see that there is significantly reduced layer of ozone in Argentina.  Ozone it appears acts just like a sunscreen in blocking the UVB wavelength of light and letting the UVA through.  UVB is the beneficial wavelength that makes vitamin D in our bodies.  Also I had wrongly thought that the increase in melanoma in Australia was a result of a hole in the ozone layer.  However, the weakness of the ozone in the Antarctic seems to allow a thicker ozone layer over Australia according the ozone map that Gorham shows.

So what are you to do this summer when seeking to get that great tan and not develop melanoma?  It would seem that using sunscreen is an absolutely a no-no.  The sunscreen blocks UVB and lets the UVA through which science has shown to develop melanoma.  Have we unintentionally perpetrated this heinous act against the population because we have shown that sunscreen reduces squamous cell carcinoma which is not a killer?  Or worse we somehow correlated burns with melanoma?  It is odd that most melanoma occurs on parts of the body that are never exposed to the sun.

Please watch the video form Grass Roots Health by Dr. Gorham and decide for yourself: “Skin Cancer/Sunscreen – the Dilemma”

Here are his slides from the presentation if you would like to look closer at them: Skin Cancer/Sunscreen Slides

Of course the issue is that it is not just melanoma that we are experiencing an increase, it is a host of other chronic diseases that develop because of vitamin D deficiency and as we learn more the news will magnify our lack of responsibility in the matter.

At the end of the video presentation you will learn that the body stops vitamin D production when the skin reaches saturation of pre-vitamin D.  For a light skin person this occurs at about 20 minutes of tanning in the noon day sun.  The body makes about 20,000 IU during this short period.  As the melanin forms to protect your skin you can stay in the sun longer.  Before that if you have to stay in the sun longer then cover up with clothes and hats.  The only safe sun protection that we know is either zinc oxide or lithium dioxide.

When we stay in the sun much longer because the chemical protection is keeping us from burning, it exposes us to the opportunity for forming melanoma.

In the sun and not wearing sunscreen, and I hear the dermatologist saying just another child going look ‘mom no hands’ as he rides his bike.  To practice profit and not science seems to the art of medicine in the US.  – Pandemic Survivor


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