Many Sunscreens May Cause Cancer

The Vitamin A supplements added to many major brands of sunscreen are raising questions about their safety. But, that's not the only danger lurking in these products. Some that are geared at kids, could be among the worst.

A new study from the Environmental Working Group indicates the Vitamin A found in these lotions may increase your odds of skin cancer. Vitamin A is commonly added to sunscreen in the form of beta keratin or retinyl palmitate. Recent Food and Drug Administration data indicates these can be photo carcinogenic. Combined with the sun's UV rays, they can cause changes in your skin which may form cancer.

And, other additives may be doing the same thing. Leandra Podzemny is an intern with the pharmacists at  Harvest Drug and Gift in Wichita Falls. She said many of the fragrances and dyes added to sunscreen can cause irritation and allergic reactions. And, dyes meant to help parents ensure their children are thoroughly covered can open up skin pores. "That's causing greater exposure to the sun that's not needed," she said.

Another common problem is the myth of SPF or sun protection factor. Many people think the higher the number, the better the protection. But, Podzemny said SPF 30 is all anyone really needs. Higher SPF lures people into a false sense of protection. They may stay out in the sun too long or neglect to reapply.

Exposure to the sun is our best source of Vitamin D. Podzemny said we really need about 20 to 30 minutes of exposure daily to get the amount we need. High SPF lotions can actually block too much sun. Vitamin D may also prevent some other types of cancer.

In the end, it is best to look for lotions with as few additives as possible. Podzemny also recommends checking with your doctor. A simple test can reveal any skin allergies which may add to skin irritation and sun exposure.