What is the truth about melanoma? A news report from Seattle laments that in spite of exceptionally cloudy weather, the state of Washington has one or the highest melanoma rates in the nation. Melanoma incidence there increases about 2% per year.
On top of this, they admit that most of the melanoma occurs on the cloudy west side of the state, and that the risk of melanoma has tripled in the last thirty years. Other states with cloudy weather have the same problems. The report further states that one should cover up with sunscreen no matter how cloudy and dark the weather, or even if one is spending the day indoors.
The reason? One of those awful sun rays may find its way through the clouds and then penetrate a window! What’s next? Must I slather myself with sunscreen before crawling in bed at night and then set my alarm for four hours later to wake up and reapply? This sunscreen mania now verges on insanity.
Sunscreens are said to have been invented in 1936 by Eugene Schueller, the founder of L’oreal, and ten years later a suntan cream was invented. In that year, it is unlikely that many people used the sunscreen, but let’s suppose that one bottle was used that first year. Let us further suppose that three billion bottles are now used each year. That is probably a very low estimate.
In 1935, one in every 1,500 people contracted melanoma. Today, one in 50 contract melanoma. In other words, there has been a 30-times (3,000%) increase in the risk of melanoma, accompanied by a spectacular increase in sunscreen use that probably reaches into the billions of percent. Sunscreens have not helped prevent melanoma.
Here is what I would like to say to the people of Seattle: Each year, more and more people are taking extra precautions to limit sun exposure and keep their skin protected when outdoors. Why then, do melanoma rates continue to increase? The answer from dermatologists, when confronted by this contradiction, is to avoid the sun even more and to slather our skins with sunscreen 24 hours a day. If we follow that advice, next year melanoma rates will increase even more. Did you realize that this melanoma increase is happening in a time where most of the population is working indoors? Does it intrigue you to learn that each year, as we use more sunscreen and avoid the sun, the risk of melanoma increases?
The latest research also shows that sunscreens are leading to widespread vitamin D deficiency. Among children, vitamin D deficiency is now at alarming levels, having increased 8,300% since 2000 as they are “protected” from the sun’s rays. The reason? Sunscreen can reduce the production of vitamin D by the skin up to 99%.
The research also shows us that sun deprivation leads to 336,000 deaths per year in the U.S. Sun is vital to human health, and too much “protection” can kill us. Here are some facts that you should know about sun exposure and health:
- A 20-year Swedish study shows that sun avoidance is as bad for the health as cigarette smoking. 
- A Spanish study shows that women who seek the sun have one-eleventh the hip-fracture risk as those who avoid sun.
- Men who work outdoors have half the risk of melanoma as those who work indoors.
- Women who avoid the sun have 10-times the risk of breast cancer as those who embrace the sun.
- Women who sunbathe regularly have half the risk of death during a 20-year period, compared to those who stay indoors.
- Sun exposure increases nitric oxide production, which leads to a decrease in heart disease risk.
- Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is essential to human survival, and sun exposure is the only natural way to obtain it. Sunbathing can produce up to 20,000 units of vitamin D in 20 minutes of whole-body exposure.
- Sun exposure dramatically improves mood through the production of serotonin and endorphin. 
- Sun exposure increases the production of BDNF, which is vital to human health.
The person who wrote the Seattle article is a dermatologist who also says that during his years in Seattle, melanoma risk has tripled.
There are no rational thought processes leading to the advice to use sunscreen all day long, 24/7, in cloudy Seattle. In fact, as pointed out in the research above, exactly the opposite is true.
 Melanoma International Foundation, 2007 Facts about melanoma. Sources: National Cancer Institute 2007 SEER Database, American Cancer Society’s 2007 Facts and Figures, the Skin Cancer Foundation, the American Academy of Dermatology.
 American Cancer Society. Melanoma Skin Cancer Overview 9/16/2014. Accessed on 9/23/2014 at http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/overviewguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-overview-key-statistics
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