You Can’t Trust Anything Any More

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’97… wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be IT.

The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.


6 thoughts on “You Can’t Trust Anything Any More

  1. Well they should double-check that by checking what happens with populations who have chronic deficit in vitamin D, like the desert bedouin who *never* expose their skin to the sun.

  2. This stuff takes a ton of testing (and decades to do) to really prove. There are just so many factors.

    For example. Another aspect is toxins. Everyday in richer countries we are surrounded by chemical products. In poorer countries you are in a much less sanitary, but more natural environment. While less sanitary, we know the human body is very good at adapting to such situations.

    How do you test this without raising people in sterile environments to isolate the variable? Who knows.

    Regardless this research can potentially save many lives, so no matter how long it takes, it’s a very worthwhile effort.

  3. I dont see why i d pay 5 dolars for an article that might just be an attempt make a critizism look like a counterproof.
    Anyway.. cancer, and that ones for sure.. is a very complicated thing. Actually it s several complicated things as cancer is a group of deases actually.. though recent studies show most kinds of cancer might share more than the fact of uncontrolled malignant growth.
    However the amount of Vitamin D supply might.. MIGHT be one of the many factors that lead to several.. or most.. kinds of cancer. In otheer words.. even if it plays a role.. doesnt mean UV light does not.

  4. As others have pointed out, the linked article is hidden behind a toll barrier. I do know that one of my lecturers at Oxford had some quite scary data about sunscreen: basically, in the lab at least it tends to concentrate the harmful UV rays so that they directly affect DNA, rather than doing the more obvious but relatively superficial damage of sunburn. He also said he was having a really hard time publishing that stuff, both because it went against conventional wisdom and because there’s a significant commercial interest in selling sunscreen :-(

    Possible indirect factors as well: people who wear sunscreen may stay out in the sun longer, take more risks and so on, because they are not punished by the pain of a sunburn. To be safe, you need to minimize your exposure to very strong sunlight, not spend hours sunbathing as close to naked as you can get away with, but thinking the sunscreen will protect you!

    I guess that article is also saying that vitamin D deficiency may play a role, though there could be a lot of other factors involved as well as sunscreen. People in the urbanized west just don’t get outdoors very much, particularly kids who are driven everywhere and not allowed to play outside in case the “paedophiles” get them. Diet too: with so many people eating in really faddy ways, fat-free or low-carb or whatever, they may not be getting enough vitamins in their diet. Low fat diets in particular (which were popular from just after the war until the 90s when Atkins came in, so most of the sample population are probably affected) can lead to a chronic deficiency in Vitamin A and D. Also, guess what, the west contains a higher proportion of people with white skin, who have a lot less natural protection from sun damage. It may also be the case that the lower rates of cancer in poorer parts of the world are reflected by people dying of other things first, infectious disease, violence, poverty related things.

  5. Apologies about the toll barrier; I don’t think it was there when I linked it. Basically, as I remember, the article suggested that vitamin D deficiency (mentioned by Individ-ewe-al) was caused by our lack of exposure to the sun and by wearing sunscreen when we went out in it.