Just this week the Environmental Working Group released a report on 500 available sunscreens for which a conclusion likened them to "modern day snake oil." Clearly, we at DermTV are astounded by this sensational and attention grabbing, yet incredi...
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Hello, I am Dr. Neal Schultz and welcome to DermTV. This week the Environmental Working Group published their fourth annual Sunscreen Report and in that report their headline was, they could only recommend 8% or 39 of the five-hundred sunscreens they reviewed and the reason they said that they couldn’t recommend the others was that they either allegedly contained ingredients that “may be” linked to causing cancer or that the SPF values have been exaggerated. You can imagine how hysterical people are hearing that the sunscreens they have been using to protect themselves from skin cancer could possibly be linked to causing cancer? Well, I don’t think so. These headlines are just completely contrary to hundreds of published medical studies in peer reviewed journals of the highest quality. Don’t forget, the Environmental Working Group is just a private organization, they issued a report- this report wasn’t a real study and this wasn’t a peer reviewed study. And they’re claiming that these ingredients could possibly be linked to skin cancer? They then three or four lines later say that well there really is no proof that it is. And they’re concern about exaggerated SPF values? They’re just talking about SPF values greater than fifty and we know that once you get above fifty you’ve got 98-99% protection from UVB, so whether it’s an SPF of 60 or 80 and if it got exaggerated by ten, it makes no difference in how that sunscreen is going to protect you. I have a real problem with two statements in the report. Number one is a quote by a Senior Vice President in charge of research, and she said, and I quote, “many sunscreens available in the United States may be the equivalent of modern day snake oil”. That just is complete contrary to what we know as the efficacy and positive effects of sunscreen, and anybody who doesn’t believe that sunscreen helps to prevent against skin cancer probably is in the same camp of people who said “well tobacco smoking didn’t cause lung cancer”. The other thing that they said that I take issue with is that “hats, shirts and the shade are the best protection against the sun”. Under the best circumstances if you’re in the shade 80 to 90% of sun can be reflected and cause damage and telling people to protect themselves from the sun by literally not being in the sun because they’re in the shade or wearing clothing, does no service to anybody that’s swimming, to anybody whose enjoying outdoor sports- you’re not going to do it with a long sleeved shirt. Of course, hats are wonderful. This is the bottom line and this is where I come out, assuming the worst case scenario, assuming that up to 41% of those five hundred products did contain a chemical that was potentially harmful, not proven but potentially, there were three hundred other sunscreens to choose from and I know one thing for sure, if you don’t use sunscreen and these people are almost telling you not to, if you don’t use sunscreen you are going to get skin cancer. Sunscreens protect against skin cancer and I would much rather take my chance with using the sunscreen then not using the sunscreen and getting skin cancer. One American dies unfortunately every 55 minutes from melanoma. It’s caused by the sun. I tell everybody to use a sunscreen everyday with an SPF of between 15 to 30 with UVA protection. Please join me again at Dermtv.com. If you have a question please send it to me by visiting Dermtv.com/question. I'm Dr. Neal Schultz and thank you for watching today.

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