Effects of sunscreen on skin cancer and photoaging

Most people think that the best way to prevent skin cancer and premature aging is to wear sunscreen. This is only partly true. Recent studies have shown that sunscreen alone does not prevent all types of skin cancer and does not completely prevent premature aging. By no means should anyone stop wearing sunscreen! However, for complete protection, a full-spectrum sunscreen in addition to a topical antioxidant offers the best defense.  Cloud Vitamin Cream’s Retinyl Palmitate is a powerful cream that acts both as a sun filter and an antioxidant. Cloud’s Retinyl Palmitate combined with sunscreen provides the skin with the protection it needs to prevent skin cancer and premature aging.

First, let’s outline the main types of skin cancer:  melanomas and keratinocyte cancers. According to the American Skin Cancer Society, “Melanomas are cancers that develop from melanocytes, the cells that make the brown pigment that gives skin its color. Melanocytes can also form benign growths called moles.” Keratinocyte cancers (KCs) are non-melanoma cancers and are comprised of two different forms:  basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Both BCC and SCC start in cells known as keratinocytes, which are the most common cells in the skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website, “Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells arising in the squamous cells, which compose most of the skin’s upper layers (the epidermis). SCC is mainly caused by cumulative UV exposure over the course of a lifetime.” Additionally, one can also develop actinic keratoses. The American Academy of Dermatology states that, “Actinic keratosis, or AKs, form on skin that soaks up lots of sun over the years. An actinic keratosis, or AK, is a rough, dry, scaly patch or growth that forms on the skin. AKs are considered precancerous.” AKs indicate a higher risk for BCC, SCC and melanoma.

An article titled, “Effects of sunscreen on skin cancer and photoaging” reported on a study that explored the efficacy of sunscreen in relation to the different types of skin cancer. The article stated that, “Daily sunscreen use was not associated with the incidence of BCC in either trial period or in the extended 8-year follow-up.” The article also recounted that, “the 40% reduction in SCC tumors in the sunscreen intervention group was statistically significant.” Additional findings showed that, “After the intervention, there was a 36% reduction in new AKs in the sunscreen treatment group.” However, the study indicated that, “there were no significant differences between the intervention and control arms with respect to melanomas.” With regard to photoaging, the study concluded that, “sunscreen alone will not reduce skin cancer and photoaging, but it is an effective ancillary to wearing protective clothing and seeking shade.” To sum up, in this study sunscreen by itself was not proven to prevent melanoma or BCCs. It did, however, reduce the occurrence of SCCs, AKs and photoaging.

To give the skin more sun protection from both skin cancer and photoaging, a sunscreen and an antioxidant are necessary. The reason that sunscreen and an antioxidant are both needed is because they work differently to protect the skin. The sunscreen sits on top of the skin and blocks some of the sun’s harmful rays. It basically works from the outside, but it does not block the full spectrum of the sun’s rays. An article called “Photoprotection of human skin beyond ultraviolet radiation” stated that, “It is now generally accepted that ultraviolet (UV) B (290 – 320 nm) and UVA (320 – 400 nm) radiation are casually related to photocarcinogenesis”. The article went on to add that, “wavelengths within the visible (VIS) (400 – 770 nm) as well as the infrared (IR) spectrum (770 nm – 1mm) range, significantly contribute to the photoaging of the skin.” With that range of the UV spectrum in mind, it is important to know that sunscreen only protects the skin to a depth of 320nm – 380nm, depending on the type of sunscreen that is used.  Cloud’s Vitamin A cream is able to protect the skin to a greater depth than sunscreen, so partnering Cloud’s Vitamin A cream with sunscreen gives the skin broad spectrum protection.

Everyone wants to keep their skin looking youthful and avoid developing skin cancer. Since studies are showing that sunscreen alone is not enough to protect the skin from UV rays, it is important to take additional steps to prevent sun damage. Wearing both sunscreen and an antioxidant provides a comprehensive defense. Cloud’s Vitamin A combined with sunscreen gives the skin full protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

Articles cited:


“Effects of sunscreen on skin cancer and photoaging” by Michelle R. Iannacone, Maria Celia B. Hughes, and Adele C. Green
“Photoprotection of human skin beyond ultraviolet radiation” by Susanne Grether-Beck, Alessandra Marini, Thomas Jaenicke and Jean Krutmann

June 11, 2015 by Cathy Mohr
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