sunscreen info

Dear Sanetters-

A few weeks ago, I posted a plea for information regarding sunscreen.  I was mainly looking for chemical-free sunscreens, and have learned some interesting tidbits in the past few weeks.  Thought I'd briefly share this info for anyone similarly concerned with removing unnecessary chemicals from his or her life.

There is a web site that discusses some recent research linking sunscreen use to increased incidences of skin cancer.  The page can be found at http://vvv.com/HealthNews/dsunscre.html (thanks, Jim!!) and although I have not seen similar results reported elsewhere, it's good food for thought.  The findings show that skin cancer occurs at a higher than average rates in countries that have long promoted the use of chemical sunscreens.  Some of the chemicals in the sunscreen may actually break down into free radicals in the presence of UVA light; these free radicals may then attach to the skin surface and promote cancer.  The article suggests using a physical sunscreen (containing natural minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide), not a chemical sunscreen, and maintaining a light natural tan as a better defense against UVA rays than sunscreens can be.  Also, although many people use sunscreen and then stay out longer than they would have, the research reports that most sunscreens cannot block totally against UVA rays, which cause skin cancer.  If you are at risk for skin cancer PLEASE visit this page.

If you're in the market for a new sunscreen, I've found a couple that are chemical-free and seem to do a good job.  They are Coppertone Skin Selects and Banana Boat Chemical-Free Sunscreen, and also Neutrogena puts one out.  I'm sure there must be other manufacturers as well.

Anne Renfrow