Sunscreen or Sunshine?

We’re having a great summer where I live. Twenty two days in a row have been sunny. Here in Western New York that’s a lot! As I slather on my 55 SPF moisturizer I’ve been wondering; What’s worse, sun screen or sunshine? Should I keep spending my money on sunscreen? I decided to google it…

Is sunshine the enemy?

The Truth About Cancer says “Sunlight is not the primary cause of skin cancer. In fact, sunlight actually prevents cancer!”  This goes against everything sunscreen companies tell us. There are some studies that would back this hypothesis.

The study abstract titled Roles of Solar UVB and Vitamin D in Reducing Cancer Risk and Increasing Survival  was written by Dr. John G. Delinassios of the International Institute of Anticancer Research. This study showed higher Vitamin D levels at the time of diagnosis coorolated with better outcomes. This study looked at UVB exposure, vitamin D, and calcium levels.

Too Much Sun Is Dangerous

The study titled Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease concluded that “Although chronic excessive exposure to sunlight increases the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer, the avoidance of all direct sun exposure increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency, which can have serious consequences.”

WebMD explains the dangers of UVA and UVB exposure in their page titled Cosmetic Procedures: Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer.  


With all the concern over UVA and UVB exposure, sunscreen has become a billion dollar industry. Many of us are covering ourselves with the stuff daily without even reading the label. The FDA regulates these creams so does that mean they’re all safe? Let me google that for ya…

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has posted this inforgrapgic to help sort out the do’s and don’ts when shopping for and using sunscreen.

Beware though, not everyone agrees with AAD that the ingredients listed in their graphic are safe. The Environmentat Working Group (EWG) says “Avoid oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and can disrupt the hormone system. Look for products with zinc oxide, 3 percent avobenzone or Mexoryl SX. They protect skin from harmful UVA radiation.” Oxybenzone is listed on the AAD site as an ingredient that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved as safe and effective.

Famous Last Words, Sunscreen or Sunshine?

So, to sunscreen or not to sunscreen, that is the question. After checking the label on my own bottle I’ve decided to continue to apply my SPF 55 moisturizer every morning. I won’t recommend one brand over another but I will share the EWG’s 12th Annual Sunscreen Guide.

Read more at Cancer Smarter’s Radiation Treatment page

Have a great summer!