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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Summer and sunscreen

To the editor:

An estimated 5.6 million Americans will confront skin cancer in 2017. Unfortunately, the “all natural” movement puts millions more at risk by advocating against common sunscreens.

In its sunscreen guide, EWG attacks oxybenzone, one of our most effective broad-spectrum (UVA and UVB) protectants, and a form of Vitamin A, an antioxidant that prevents the sun’s aging effects. But dermatologists say it would take 200 years of regularly applying either of these ingredients before you’d ever see a health effect. Conversely, just 15 minutes of fun in the sun can damage your skin.

Fear over sunscreen “nanoparticles” is also far-fetched. The tiny particles clump together, which prevents your body from absorbing them. Plus, when natural mineral ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are small enough, they don’t leave that annoying white residue on your skin (goodbye lifeguard nose!).

In reality, sunscreens face the same rigorous safety screenings as over-the-counter medications. So as you splash your way into warmer months, remember to lather up and trust the science of SPF for a sunburn-free summer. 


Dr. Joseph Perrone

Chief science officer for the Center
for Accountability in Science

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