skin tumors

  1. Not all sunscreens are the same

    Dishing out bad advice on sunscreen

    It should be obvious that we need to avoid toxins -- the word alone is a warning.

    But instead of helping us to keep free of these dangerous chemicals, mainstream medical groups are actually encouraging us to rub them all over our bodies. Just take a look at the latest advice from the American Academy of Dermatology.

    The group, which claims to represent 17,000 dermatologists, didn't just endorse one or two ingredients with known risks. They actually went ahead and urged people to use no less than three hazardous chemicals -- ingredients so bad that even some sunscreen manufacturers are doing away with them voluntarily.

    For example, the group recommended a form of vitamin A called retinyl palmitate, added to skincare products in recent years when vitamin A became a marketing buzzword associated with "skin protection."

    But recent tests have shown that this particular form of vitamin A does the exact opposite. Instead of protecting the skin, it can actually speed the growth of skin tumors -- especially when exposed to sunlight.

    And they want you to rub this on your skin and head outside? No way -- and manufacturers are getting the message even if the AAD isn't, because they're already voluntarily removing retinyl palmitate from many sunscreens.

    That's not the only way this group is dangerously behind the times -- because they're also recommending oxybenzone, a well-known endocrine-disrupting chemical linked to developmental, reproductive, and organ toxicity... as well as allergies, cellular damage, and more.

    And completing this hat trick of bad advice, the AAD is also urging people to use sunscreens with nanoparticles despite research showing these tiny new ingredients can penetrate the skin and damage or even kill cells inside the body.

    If you want to protect your skin from UV rays -- and if you're going to be spending any significant amount of time out under the sun, you're going to want some protection -- try a sunscreen where the main protective ingredient is either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

    Stick to the micronized particles -- not the nanoparticles recommended by the AAD.

    For more free advice on how to pick a safe sunscreen click here.

  2. Kids skip sunscreen

    It's hard to think of sunburn when you're battling sub-zero February temperatures every day -- but summer will be here soon enough.

    And when it arrives, you can bet that two things will happen: You'll hear a lot of mainstream noise about the supposed importance of wearing sunblock... and kids will get sunburned anyway.

    Now, that same mainstream is in a tizzy over a small survey that shows kids aren't interested in wearing sunscreen -- and that as they grow up, they simply stop putting it on.

    Take that, mom!

    The survey of 360 kids found that half of them used the stuff regularly when they were in fifth grade -- and half of them got sunburned at least once during the summer.

    Three years later, the number of kids using sunscreen fell dramatically: By the time the kids reached eighth grade, only 25 percent of them reported using sunscreen regularly -- despite reporting even more time out in the sun.

    More time in the sun, less sunscreen -- the mainstream coverage of this ends pretty much there. And naturally, they're all screaming for these kids to put on their sunscreen.

    But here's the "rest of the story" -- the part you couldn't hear over those screams: In eighth grade, the number of kids reporting at least one sunburn didn't change. It was still 50 percent.

    Maybe sunscreen isn't all it's cracked up to be after all.

    And it's not just that these chemical goos don't work nearly as well as their backers claim. In fact, many of them are actually far more dangerous than a summer full of sunburns.

    Common sunscreens contain well-known hormone-disrupting chemicals such as oxybenzone. Until recently, many sunscreens -- including some of the best-selling brands -- contained a form of vitamin A that could actually speed the growth of skin tumors.

    In other words, the very chemicals that were supposed to protect people from sunburn and, eventually, skin cancers can actually cause the disease and speed its progression.

    That's why the best defense against sunburn isn't a layer of dangerous chemicals. It's common sense: Get some sun at every age, because it's the best (and cheapest) way to get your vitamin D.

    And when you've had enough, cover up -- or at least seek shade or head inside before you get burned.

    Some kids will of course get burned anyway. So be it -- at least they're outside, where they belong, and not parked on the sofa.

  3. Step into the sun

    Despite what you've heard, the only protection from the sun your skin really needs is a little common sense.

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