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part 1: protection or poison?

Sunny days, warm waters, salty hair and bronzed sun-kissed skin.. the glow that literally represents your skin cells in trauma.

Whilst there is no denying the general perception is that a tan looks 'healthy', it couldn't be further from the truth. Your cells are in damage control, frantically responding to the increased exposure to harmful radiation by increasing your skins epidermal pigment in an effort to combat the penetration of radiation into your body.

Not sounding so great now huh?!

Whilst small amounts of unprotected exposure is needed for synthesis of Vitamin D, an incredibly important Vitamin for our health, the fact remains that it is 'small amounts'.

Thousands of Australians are dying each year from exposure to the suns radiation. The statistics on skin cancer are staggering, with 2 out of every 3 Australians diagnosed with a form of skin cancer before they hit their 70's.

If that doesn't have you reaching for your sunscreen then also to consider is the myriad of aesthetically displeasing skin implications a little UVR can give us, such as a decent dose of hyper-pigmentation... think mottled patches of brown pigment across your lovely face, and then there is the swift unleashing cascade of free radicals on precious connective tissues, namely collagen and elastin (the proteins responsible for providing the our skins supportive mesh)... cue drooping, sagging and wrinkling as skin degradation and ageing speeds up, and if still not sure if you'll bother... why not type 'sun lesions' into your search engine.. then hit 'images'.

I admit I love the sun, and can be frequently heard saying "I just need some sunshine on my bones", but in case you have missed previous posts, I also throw out the phrase "no hat no play" with the same frequency.

It is not called 'sun protection' or 'sun safety' because it sounded fun.. here in Australia where we sit in close proximity to the equator, over exposure to UV radiation can prove lethal.

If you thought the ranting was done... not so. Here is my dilemma when advocating sun smarts...

As it turns out, most sunscreens... aren't all that safe...

(here would be a good time to imagine the sound of my head repeatedly hitting the table)

Studies are reporting that specific ingredients in chemical sunscreens may have the ability to generate free radicals within the body damaging our DNA and, further, may act as endocrine disruptors, mimicking our hormones.

Do these forms of 'protection' have the potential to cause cancer?!

Stay tuned, part 2: let's get physical, is on it's way.

x L.

With thanks to the following sources,

Australia, C. (2017). SunSmart - Cancer Council Australia. Retrieved 7 July 2017, from

Burnett, M., & Wang, S. (2017). Current sunscreen controversies: a critical review. Retrieved 7 July 2017

Janjua, N., Mogensen, B., Andersson, A., Petersen, J., Henriksen, M., Skakkebæk, N., & Wulf, H. (2004). Systemic Absorption of the Sunscreens Benzophenone-3, Octyl-Methoxycinnamate, and 3-(4-Methyl-Benzylidene) Camphor After Whole-Body Topical Application and Reproductive Hormone Levels in Humans. Journal Of Investigative Dermatology, 123(1), 57-61.

Jiang, Roberts, Collins, & Benson. (2001). Absorption of sunscreens across human skin: an evaluation of commercial products for children and adults. British Journal Of Clinical Pharmacology, 48(4), 635-637.

Kadry, A., Okereke, C., Abdel-Rahman, M., Friedman, M., & Davis, R. (1995). Pharmacokinetics of benzophenone-3 after oral exposure in male rats. Journal Of Applied Toxicology, 15(2), 97-102.

Schlumpf, M., & Lichtensteiger, W. (2001). "In Vitro and in Vivo Estrogenicity of UV Screens": Response. Environmental Health Perspectives, 109(8), a359-a361.

Skin cancer facts & stats - SunSmart. (2017). Skin cancer facts & stats - SunSmart. Retrieved 7 July 2017, from

The Role Of Vitamin D & Vitamin D Deficiency | Cleveland Clinic. (2017). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved 7 July 2017, from

UV radiation. (2017). World Health Organization. Retrieved 7 July 2017, from

WHO | Health consequences of excessive solar UV radiation. (2017). Retrieved 7 July 2017, from