Articles By Danie Maritz

Melanoma prevented by Sunscreen: Is our “Protection from the Sun” Message Misleading?

suntan1Misleading and False information might be what the public has been fed over the years regarding sunscreens and skin cancer, especially malignant melanomas. Beginning with my heading above. There is no such thing as “Melanoma“. It is either a MALIGNANT melanoma or a BENIGN melanoma, the two have NOTHING in common. They don’t even have to be pigmented.

The general population is being confused by the pseudo scientific information presented to them by the companies marketing the various types of skin protection, from sunscreen creams to clothing, hats, motor vehicle window tints, etc.

There are now more people using sunscreen on a regular basis than ever before and in spite of that, the percentage of superficial skin cancers as well as malignant melanomas has been increasing. So, can it be possible that the sunscreen that you are using might place you at risk of developing cancer, rather than preventing it ?

The SPF factor displays the percentage of presumed protection against UVB (which is the “good” UV) and offers no protection against the “bad” UVA. There are some “broad spectrum” sunscreens on the market that protect against UVA as well as UVB, but, the percentage of protection against UVA is not stated. SPF only applies to UVB. There are also two kinds of sunscreens. One is the oily type on the skin surface and the other the “dry” type that absorbs into the skin. A new type of sunscreen has also been developed in Australia that claims that it blocks only UVA and allows the UVB to come through, so that vitamin D can be produced and not be blocked. It would then also allow the natural melanin in the skin to increase in a normal way, due to the stimulation by the UVB. The idea is good.

When you “tan” the superficial UVB naturally increases the melanin in your skin, which then in turn becomes darker and then offers a natural barrier against the “bad” UVA, which has a longer wave length and penetrates deeper. It seems that chronic low grade exposure to the sun increases the natural production of melanin in the skin which in turn protects the skin against the harmful UVA in a completely natural way.

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What is more important than the type of sunscreen, is your type of skin. Certain types skin should never be exposed to sun. See the Fitzpatrick scale.

 

 

home_coverThere is evidence that UV  can increase the incidence of some superficial skin cancers. But they are generally more localized and do not metastasize.  There is NO evidence that sunlight can or does increase the incidence of malignant melanoma. Furthermore there is also a difference between benign and malignant melanomas. It is NOT the natural course for benign melanomas to change into malignant melanomas. Furthermore, malignant melanomas, basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas have NOTHING in common. The one cannot progress to the other. They are as different from each another as chalk and cheese.

The production of Vitamin D is also prevented by sunblock. Vitamin D is essential for our bone strength as well as preventing various kinds of systemic cancer such as breast, colon and others. Not only systemic, but, also in the skin. The natural production of Vitamin D by the skin also cannot be replaced by drinking supplements. It is possible that sunblock can cause vitamin D deficiency in a person.

There was an interesting article by Margaret B. Planta, in the recent JABFM of Nov / Dec 2016, regarding whether our message of sunscreen protection and melanomas is correct. Sunscreen and Melanoma: Is Our Prevention Message Correct?

Once again, a good example where we should probably not interfere with the natural functionality of our bodies. We were designed as pretty efficient functioning creatures.

 

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Generation Y …. whinging with reason ?

Maybe the generation-y’ers have a point and maybe it is our fault (the baby boomers).

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Our parents came through the depression years and we were motivated by them constantly to study. My dad always said that no-one can ever take your qualifications away from you, so study, study, study. But, there were not that many occupations around in those days and almost everything you studied invariably did lead towards a profession of some kind.

We, the baby boomer, generation were not so strict on our generation y kids, as our parents were on us. Times were good and it was said that most of our kids will someday work in occupations that didn’t exist in their schooling years. Their future is bright and interesting …. or, is it?

When it comes to study they did study, but, they studied all the “nice” and interesting subjects, that don’t necessary lead to a specific profession. Our emphasis was not correct, we should have motivated our kids to become “professionally qualified”, not just studying.

There are only 2 kinds of people that make the wheels of the world go round:  the professionals and the entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs are born like that, you can’t study to be one. If you aren’t a born entrepreneur, then you have to study towards a specific profession.

For the rest you have to have a professional qualification, be it a doctor, lawyer, bricklayer, plumber, electrician, etc. If you are asked “what is your profession?” then you must be able to answer in one or 2 words ….. and then everyone will know exactly what is is that you do. But, if you start waffling around, trying to explain what it is that you do, then you have missed the boat. Sure, it does take studying to get anywhere, that is the essential part ……… but, it must be towards a specific professional qualification.

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