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Influencers Join ‘Anti Sunscreen Movement’, Claims Sun Protector Can Cause Skin Cancer


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A concerning trend is gaining momentum on social media: the anti-sunscreen movement. Influencers on platforms like TikTok are advocating against sunscreen use, spreading unfounded claims about its potential risks, including cancer and vitamin D deficiencies. These anti-sunscreen influencers argue that sunscreen causes more harm than good, but their assertions lack scientific backing.

Health authorities have intervened to counter this misinformation, emphasizing the critical role of sunscreen in protecting against skin cancer caused by ultraviolet radiation. Dr. Julia Carroll, a board-certified dermatologist, refutes the notion that sunscreen causes cancer, highlighting its effectiveness in preventing skin damage and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Numerous studies have demonstrated sunscreen’s effectiveness in reducing the risk of skin cancer and protecting against the sun’s harmful effects on the skin.

Dr. Lisa Tabrizi, a naturopathic physician, underscores the importance of safeguarding against the sun’s harmful effects while acknowledging Canadians’ deep connection to nature and appreciation for sunlight. She offers various sun protection approaches, including sunscreen selection, understanding SPF, timing outdoor activities to avoid peak sun intensity, covering up with hats and sunglasses, seeking shade, and embracing protective clothing.

Tabrizi emphasizes the need for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, regardless of whether it’s physical or chemical. She advises reapplication, especially after swimming or sweating, and recommends using approximately 30ml (1 ounce) to cover the entire body. Contrary to the claims of the anti-sunscreen movement, using the correct amount of sunscreen effectively shields the skin from harmful UV rays, thereby preventing sunburn and long-term skin damage.

The timing of outdoor activities is crucial, with peak sun intensity occurring between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Seeking shade during these hours and wearing protective clothing can minimize UV exposure and reduce the risk of sunburn and skin damage. These strategies complement the use of sunscreen and help ensure comprehensive protection.

Accessories like wide-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses enhance sun protection, while clothing with a UPF rating provides additional coverage. Synthetic and natural fibers, when woven tightly, offer excellent sun protection. This multifaceted approach to sun safety helps counteract the potentially harmful messages spread by anti-sunscreen influencers.

Tabrizi encourages Canadians to enjoy the outdoors responsibly by adopting a balanced approach to sun protection. By prioritizing broad-spectrum coverage, complementing it with protective clothing, and seeking shade when necessary, individuals can revel in nature’s beauty while safeguarding their skin and health.

In addition to advocating for sun protection, health authorities and experts are working to combat the spread of misinformation about sunscreen on social media platforms. Education campaigns, public service announcements, and collaborations with influencers who promote evidence-based skincare practices are essential in addressing misconceptions and encouraging responsible sun protection behaviors. By empowering individuals with accurate information and practical sun safety tips, efforts can be made to reverse the harmful effects of the anti-sunscreen movement and promote skin health for all.

This is not the first time dangerous trends have originated from social media. It can be remembered how some influencers have started advocating the benefits of raw milk – a controversial nutritional stand.

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