Posted on: April 28, 2016 at 3:58 pm
Last updated: June 5, 2018 at 4:31 pm

According to a presentation at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), most cases of melanoma skin cancer are not related to sunlight exposure.

Dr. Daniel Coit, a surgical oncologist at the MSKCC, presented his research on melanoma during a 2012 MSKCC Health Education Seminar.

Does Sunscreen Cause Cancer?

According to his findings, most melanomas are not related to chronic sun exposure. Instead, Coit explains how melanomas are more dependant on gene mutations and a genetic history of the cancer.

Coit even explains how those who are constantly being exposed to the sun have a lesser risk of developing melanoma than those who are only occasionally exposed to it.

“Individuals exposed to intermittent or recreational sun exposure had much higher risk than those exposed to chronic occupational exposure,” the study, published in the HHS Public Access manuscripts, stated. “Melanoma risk can be substantially increased by inconsistent sun protection.”


Several other studies have also linked sunlight exposure to cancer-protective benefits.

One Swedish study that was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine found that non-smoking individuals who chronically avoided sun exposure had the same life expectancy as smokers who were regularly exposed to the sun.

Another study published in Environmental Health Perspectives also came to the conclusion that sunlight can protect against cancer.

Researchers found that vitamin D absorbed from the sun was able to enhance calcium digestion and metabolism. They also found that taking two to four times the recommended daily intake of both vitamin D and calcium resulted in a 77% reduction of cancer rates in test subjects, theoretically making sunlight exposure an effective method of preventing cancer.

This information comes in contrast to the various studies and promotions used by sunscreen companies which state that sunlight exposure directly correlates to cancer.

To find out more about ways to naturally lower your cancer risk, click here.

Sunscreen is essential for preventing skin damage from the sun’s harsh rays and has been used as a form of skin protection since the 1930’s, but most of us don’t know how much about the ingredients contained in it (1). The health consequences associated with the ingredients in sunscreen is something you should be aware of, especially because they could be disrupting your endocrine system.

Chemicals In Sunscreen Acting As Endocrine Disruptors

Sunscreen is composed of protective agents known as UV filters, which come in two forms – physical and chemical (1). Physical filters work by scattering and reflecting UV rays while chemical filters absorb these rays (1). The most popular sunscreen products contain some chemical filters, which is a cause for concern since these chemicals have the potential to act as endocrine disruptors (2).

Endocrine disruptors are naturally occurring or man-made compounds that mimic and disrupt hormones in the body (3). They have been linked to health problems in animals and researchers believe they also adversely affect human health (3). These substances may contribute to reduced fertility and increased incidences of obesity, endometriosis, diabetes, and some cancers (3). Chemicals that have been flagged as known endocrine disruptors include DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, and diethylstilbestrol (3).

Are Sunscreen Ingredients Safe?


An increasing number of studies have indicated that several UV-filter chemicals may have endocrine-disrupting effects (4). Oxybenzone is a chemical commonly used in sunscreens that has proven to be particularly concerning as recent studies have linked it with a decreased level of testosterone in men, an increased risk of endometriosis in women, and pregnancy complications (2).

Studies on sunscreen ingredients are still in the beginning stages and critics argue some are too short to be conclusive (2). More studies are needed on long-term, repeated exposure to UV filters in order for the human health effects of contemporary sunscreens to be properly understood (1). Read this next to learn how to make your own non-toxic sunscreen at home. 


(1) Ruszkiewicz, J.A., Pinkas, A., Ferrer, B., Peres, T.V., Tsatsakis, A., Aschner, M. (2017, May 27). Neurotoxic effect of active ingredients in sunscreen products, a contemporary review. Toxicology Reports, 4. Retrieved from

(2) The Trouble With Ingredients in Sunscreens. (n.d.). Retrieved from

(3) Endocrine Disruptors. (n.d.). Retrieved from


(4) Krause, M., Kilt, A., Blomberg, J.M., Soeborg, T., Frederiksen, H., Schlumpf, M., Lichtensteiger, W., Skakkebaek, N.E., Drewiecki, K.T. (2012, June). Sunscreens: are they beneficial for health? An overview of endocrine disrupting properties of UV-filters. International Journal of Andrology, 35 (3), 424-36. Retrieved from

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