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Why the World Needs to Change Its Attitude Towards Sunscreen

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People are used to wearing sunscreen on a scorching-hot day because that’s obviously what you should be doing – it’s hot outside, you can see the sun, and if you don’t wear sunscreen for a day you get sunburn!

What people don’t know is that you should be wearing sun screen every day.

Don’t take my word for it

Miravue Skin Clinic wrote a report today about the dangers of UV radiation in the UK, saying that even in the winter you should be wearing sunscreen every day!

Considering the UK isn’t exactly known for its hot weather you can only imagine how much worse it is for other countries.

The report goes on to say that your skin is damaged all year round by UV radiation, and over time this damage builds up and can lead to skin problems – even cancer – later on in life.

So why don’t we?

Human beings, as a species, have a hard time associating future consequences with current behaviour.

This is evident in many of our indulgences:

  • Overeating
  • Binge drining
  • Smoking
  • Using fossil fuels
  • Buying that cheaper, less reliable boiler

We pay much more attention to the short-term reward of an activity than we do its potential consequences.

In this instance: choosing to get a sweet tan, instead of thinking “If I get sunburnt once in two years it will triple the chance that I will develop skin cancer.”

What can we do?

The first step is education.

Most people don’t know that you need to wear sunscreen all year round, and that you can get sunburnt during snowy seasons.

Much like the Drink Aware campaigns in the UK, the first task has been to tell people about the risks involved.

The second step is cultural, and this is much, much harder to change. 

It is almost ingrained in our society that you don’t need to wear sunscreen unless it’s sunny. 

It will take time, and a lot of effort, for this assumption to change.

So next time you think about going out during the day, slap on some sunscreen. I know I will.

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About maxholloway

  • Erik Kreider

    If the risk of skin cancer doesn’t adequately motivate you, the desire to stay looking young might – medical literature and the American Academy of Dermatology report that 90% of the wrinkles we develop are caused by UV damage, and it’s cumulative. A good illustration is to consider what a tibetan monk looks like, who stays indoors mostly, compared to a native american who’s been outside mostly. So if you want to stay looking young, wear sunscreen, AND DON’T TAN! You may think you look good tan at 30, but you’ll look like an old raisin at 45.
    If you want to reduce the issues associated with bioaccumulation of petrochemical sunscreens and the inherent DNA damage they do (as they are universally benzene-based petrochemicals), use a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen made with certified organic ingredients, like Green Screen Organic Sunscreen. Google for more information and where to purchase it.

  • Gabriella

    Firstly, you can’t get sunburn during Winter unless you’re in a climate somewhat similar to LA. The bigger issue is SunScreen contains SPF which actually is not good for the skin not to mention the high levels of Parabens which build up in the body and are found in tumours, cancers and so forth.. So there really is a big counter argument for this, aside from lack of knowledge

  • George Li

    Gabriella, before post, you should read what FDA 2011 new monograph said about it … your message totally misled the reader and not scientific.

  • http://www.maxholloway.co.uk Max Holloway

    Hi Gabriella,

    You can get sunburn in the Winter, however it is generally in the snow. The UV is reflected by the snow causing sun burn.

    “SPF” is not a “thing” it is a measurement of the sun screens ability to reflect or absorb UV radiation.

    The link between sun screen and hightened instances of melanoma was found to be an association, not a causal relationship.

    Studies showed that people were applying 4 times too little sun screen and would then go out into the sun thinking they were protected when really they weren’t, resulting in much greater exposure to UV.

    When talking or writing about health it is important to back up your claims with studies and journals as off-the-cuff remarks such as yours can be misleading and dangerous.