When summer approaches usually women or men at some cases tend to worry about their skin colour and some of them end up using sun beds without knowing how dangerous this can be. During the summer people tend to go to the sea without any sunscreen on only to get a better tanning result. It is well known nowadays that overexposure to sun can cause skin cancer. It’s been over 100 years since the first proofs have come out. There are 3 types of skin cancer of which Basel cell carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the most frequent but Melanoma is the most dangerous.
But let’s review how skin cancer occurs. The sun emits large quantities of ultraviolet rays which contain photons. These photons have enough energy to distract electrons from atoms creating in this way positively charged cations which are extremely harmful for the cells and can cause mutations to the DNA leading to the generation of abnormal immortal cancer cells. They usually act upon tumor suppressor genes and they also have the ability to break molecular bonds in water molecules thus creating dangerous formations such as hydroxyl groups or reactive oxygen series. This of course doesn’t ensue just by walking under the sun on the contrary it is the implication of a prolonged exposure. Another fact is that residents of areas with sufficient sunshine have more frequently skin cancer cases. Also people with sun sensitivity or benign sun related skin conditions are more vulnerable.
According to various sources such as the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) and Cancer Research UK sun beds are considered to be unsafe. There has been a documented increase of skin cancer incidence in all of the three types. In particular for Basal cell carcinoma there has been recorded a 9% increase, for squamous cell double increase than ordinary levels and in malignant melanoma there is an impressive 75% increased risk in comparison to the normal levels especially for those who start using sun beds before the age of 35. Especially for melanoma each sun bed session increases the risk by almost 2%!!! In the US it is actually estimated that almost 8,5% of non – melanoma skin cancer is due to sun bed usage and in Europe 5,4% of malignant melanomas cases are due to the same cause. Some features might not seem so big but their cause remains avoidable.
A lot is been said at times about sunscreens and the possibility of them containing cancerogenic elements. The article of Nohynek and Dufour about nanoparticles (NP) along with American academy of dermatology (AAD) are shedding some light on the subject. The truth is that sunscreens protect the skin by reflecting or absorbe the UV light. They contain nano – sized components such us undiluted titanium dioxide (TiO2) or zinc oxide (ZnO) which are FDA approved. There really small size helps spread more efficiently improving their action and they are also colourless. On top of that they are incapable to penetrating the skin beyond the superficial layers (stratum corneum) and they also have low systemic toxicity proven by in vivo toxicity test and excellent skin tolerance. Although those particular NP are proven to be safe not all NP are so this should not be taken for granted. Another couple of perceived suspicious ingredients mentioned at times are retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone. The second one is an FDA approved ingredient which doesn’t cause hormonal alterations or any other health issues and in fact it has been out in the market since 1978. As far as it has to do with retinyl palmitate this is an antioxidant responsible for enhancement performance of the product. It is also used by organ transplant recipients, high risk patients and it is prescribed for several skin conditions such as psoriasis and acne.
It is always nice to enjoy the sun but with a sensible and responsible way to protect your health. Putting on sunscreen is the easiest thing to do before going out and such a small sacrifice in gains of a safer life.