Are sunscreens worth it?
Living in the Sunshine State, most Floridians depend on sunscreens to remedy our over exposure to the sun.
“You cannot spend the day at the beach or on a boat without slathering up sun protection almost immediately, unless you want a sunburn,” warns Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent health insurance agency.
But are we misinformed? It seems too much value is placed on the effectiveness of sunblock. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), points out, “Sunscreen products are not as good as they should be. Today’s sunscreens do not fully protect skin from all types of ultraviolet(UV) damage.”
After speaking with doctors who are conducting research on the use of sunscreen, Reuters concluded,” There isn’t much evidence to conclusively prove that daily sunscreen use can prevent most skin cancers.”
The reason for the lack of reliable information on sunscreen gets down to ethics. Physicians and researchers feel it is unethical to ask people to sit in the sun unprotected for hours while they record data, potentially placing them at risk.
Despite the lack of information, doctors urge the public to continue using sunscreens until more substantial data emerges. Information that is currently used is based on questionnaires from skin cancer sufferers.
The EWG recommends sunscreen as a last resort. Other ways to keep skin protected include:
Covering up with clothes and a hat
Plan activities around the sun – early morning or evening
Find or make shade
Sunglasses are essential
According to The American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. More skin cancers are diagnosed in the U.S. each year than all other cancers combined. In fact, the number of skin cancer cases has been going up over the past few decades.
While sunscreens might not be the cure we were hoping for, it is necessary to protect your skin from the powerful Florida sun. Below you can find links to highly rated sunscreens by Consumer Reports and EWG.