MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - We have all heard that wearing sunscreen will help protect against skin cancer, but some brands contain chemicals that could cause cancer. The Environmental Working Group reports that many sunscreens contain harmful chemicals that can absorb into the skin and over time, could cause cancer.
The chemicals being evaluated are Oxybenzone and retinylpalmitate. The EWG claims oxybenzone is an estrogen-like chemical that can enhance the sun’s harmful rays, potentially leading to skin cancer. Retinylpalmitate is another potentially harmful chemical that has grown tumors in lab rats during experiments.
Dr. James Turner, dermatologist, says, “That's still very controversial. Obviously we need protection from the effects of UVA and UVB because we know U-V light causes cancer, but we need to be protected too.”
The Environmental Working Group’s 2012 sunscreen report recommends only 25-percent of 1800 sunscreen products tested. The main ingredients that you do want in a sunscreen are blocking agents such as titanium dioxide. The debate over harmful chemicals continues, but all agree that sunscreen is our best protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Experts encourage you to check the labels before buying sunscreen.
Dr. Turner says that applying sunscreen frequently is more important than the Sun Protective Factor (SPF). The recommendation is to have a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and reapply it every hour and a half when you’re outside.