By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…
Most people believe that melanoma incidence is increasing rapidly, and that complete avoidance of sun exposure is the answer to preventing the disease. And of course, we must always wear sunscreen, even in the winter. Occasionally, however, there are research studies that belie those beliefs and quite simply show that sunscreens are at best worthless and at worst toxic.
A very-well-done piece of research in Northern Europe compared melanoma incidence rates with sunscreen use during a period of time from 1997-1999 to 2008 and 2012. One of the most interesting findings was that higher income people had significantly higher melanoma incidence, and that increased sunscreen use by those people had not prevented them from being at higher risk of melanoma. In other words, we see this equation: Higher sunscreen use=higher melanoma risk! We know that people who work outdoors regularly have far less risk of melanoma than those who work indoors. This research backs that fact, because it is obvious that higher-income people spend much more time indoors that poorer people who work outside. Those higher-income people also have more money to spend on sunscreens.
Possibly one of the most profound assessments of sunscreen use and melanoma risk was done by Case Adams, a naturopath. In an article entitled Melanoma Rates Double as More Use Sunscreen, Fewer Sunbathe, he analyzes sunscreen sales statistics from Prezi market analysis. He then demonstrates that sunscreen sales between 1982 and 2012 increased by 38 times or 3800%. During the same years, melanoma risk doubled! He also notes that the number of people who sunbathe has profoundly decreased. Anyone who thinks that increasing sunscreen use has led to a reduction in melanoma is wandering around in the darkness of denial! Dr. Adams also makes this interesting statement: “Thus we cannot logically equate the growth of skin cancer with an increase in sun exposure.”
The best protection against melanoma is regular sun exposure. Safely enjoy it!
 Williams SN, Dienes KA. Sunscreen Sales, Socio-Economic Factors, and Melanoma Incidence in Northern Europe: A Population-Based Ecological Study. SAGE Open December 14;1-6.
 Garland FC, White MR, Garland CF, Shaw E, Gorham ED. Occupational sun exposure and melanoma in the USA Navy. Arch Environ Health 1990; 45:261-67.