Local dermatologist weighs in on sunscreen controversy

The month of May was Skin Cancer Awareness Month and experts generally prescribe the use of sunscreen to lessen the chance of developing any of the three types of skin cancer that are the most prevalent. At the same time, there has been concern expressed about repetitive use of the product, that it is toxic or ineffective at a certain SPF level.

On <a href=”http://610kvnu.com/assets/podcaster/324/2017_06_13_324_58594_2867.mp3″ target=”_blank”>KVNU’s For the People program on Monday</a>, Dr. Robert Young of Rocky Mountain Dermatology was asked about the truth concerning the sunscreen controversy.

“Well, that’s a broad question that we don’t have the time to go into the kinds of details that I’d like to, to bust all the myths about sunscreen. But the scientific data, when taken as a whole, shows a connection between sun exposure and all types of skin cancer and that sunscreen definitely protects against all three types of skin cancer that is past the point of being controversial,” Dr Young explained.

He said if you trace the links about people discouraging use of sunscreen you end up discovering that somebody is trying to sell you a product. He said sun damage is serious and it’s an accumulative dose of UV damage to the genetic structure of our chromosomes. Over time skin loses its ability to repair those damages. And he’s finding that patients are getting younger.

“In the 20 years I’ve been in the valley, I’ve seen a significant increase in the incidents of new cases of skin cancer including melanoma, the most deadly, and I’m seeing it in younger and younger patients.

“The youngest patient that we have seen with melanoma was actually a child (that was) pediatric age. The youngest mortality we’ve seen was an 18 year old young man with a melanoma on his temple.”

According to the dermatologist, those who promote sun exposure as a way to take in Vitamin D or get a ‘base tan’ are perpetuating a dangerous myth. He said there is no such thing as a safe sun tan. Any tan means that your skin has had some genetic damage and is responding to it with its own form of protection.

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