Sunscreens. I’ve been dubious of their efficacy for years. But it wasn’t until reading an article in the latest NEXUS by Dr. Elizabeth Plourde that I felt I had evidence to support my doubts.

The headlines in all forms of media tell us to use sunscreens before going outdoors. We are told to slather sunscreen on our children to protect them from skin cancers and prevent photo-ageing of the skin.

In 2010, while Elizabeth Plourde was in Maui, Hawaii, the local media there were discussing how coral reefs were dying due to global warming. Yet to her the Hawaiian waters felt cooler than they had in the 40 years she had been swimming in them.

From the 1960s to the present time, there has been a steady increase in the incidence of melanoma in all parts of the world, despite a corresponding increase in the use of sunscreens. Evidence is so overwhelming that researchers in a 2008 article in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology,stated: “. . .It is probably safe to suggest that predominantly UVB absorbing sunscreens do not prevent melanoma development in humans.”

Sunscreens block the ability of our skin to perform its essential duty of manufacturing vitamin D in response to solar radiation exposure. Vitamin D is a crucial part of our overall health, particularly for bone development. Vitamin D deficiency is now a worldwide phenomenon.

Many studies have been published indicating that sunscreen chemicals are very potent hormones, acting like oestrogens, anti-oestrogens, testosterones or anti-testosterones, disrupting the natural hormonal balance in the body, possibly having long-term effects in humans and wildlife, particularly in the sexual development of the foetus. Many of the sunscreen chemicals belong to a class of chemicals called phenols, which are known to be capable of passing through the placenta and entering the foetus.

It has become fashionable for sunscreen manufacturers to claim their products to be “natural” or “safe”. Even if they’re labelled as being safe for coral reefs, these products often contain chemicals which have been proven to kill coral.

Sunscreen use has been so well promoted in America that sunscreen chemical benzophenone-3 is now found in the blood of 97% of Americans, including 90% of those who have never used sunscreens.

There have been many studies published over the years which prove that antioxidants are very effective in naturally protecting the skin from solar radiation. Eating foods rich in antioxidants will give you far greater protection from the sun than will sunscreens. Stopping sunscreen use will produce great benefits for coral, plankton, fish and our children, including those who are yet to be born.

We need the sun. Choosing to be exposed to it in the cooler times of the day allows its health-promoting rays to enter our skin and eyes, making us feel good and even keeping certain cancers at bay. Sunscreens have helped pour huge profits into the coffers of the companies making them, while an increasing number of independent studies question sunscreen benefits. Think before you apply them. At the very least, use organic sunscreens.

For more on this subject including a pdf of the entire NEXUS article visit: Dr. Plourde’s book Sunscreens – Biohazard: Treat as Hazardous Waste is also available through the above website.


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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See


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